Home - noun -
- “A house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.”
- “the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.”
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what a “home” actually is. We use the word so flippantly when talking about our current place of residence, our past place of residence, and occasionally, a place that isn’t our own personal residence but just a place we spend a lot of time. I recently posted on Instagram and Facebook, asking for some words that people would use personally when they think of “home” and, in a nutshell, this is what I got:
Honestly, I think even those four identifiers can be whittled down to two. I think the word “Love” supersedes that of “Family” as often times there are members of our home that we love but with whom we do not share blood. “Freedom” I think encompasses the word “Comfort” since it’s difficult to become comfortable in a restrained environment.
These are all things that I honestly take for granted. I grew up in the United States with a roof over my head and a family that loved me. It’s hard to imagine anything outside of that although, of course, it exists. In a recent visit to the house and town I grew up in, I started thinking about what a home truly is.
My husband wasn’t able to go with me and after four years of marriage, being around him is something that I’ve become accustomed to, making prolonged separation feel, shall we say, uncomfortable. Despite this though, I thoroughly enjoyed being “home” and it didn’t take long to fall asleep in my old room, remember which drawer the silverware goes in, put my feet on the couch, and start helping around the farm.
When I was 10 years old my parents finished building our home on a 93-acre plot right outside town. I’m sure they had lots of very good reasons for moving out there but I remember fighting it so hard at the time. I was very aware that I had no control over the situation but I made it known that I had no desire to leave the “home” in the neighborhood despite the fact that it was far from my friends, I had to share a room with my little sister, but where I was, you guessed it, comfortable.
It didn’t take long for me to get over that sentiment though and my siblings and I were soon mucking about in the creek, making forts, and exploring. Of course living on a large piece of land also meant that I got really good at manual labor, namely, clearing brush. I picked up a lot of limbs in those days and was quite happy when, as the oldest child, I was at least be the first one able to drive the pickup truck and occasionally get a bit of air conditioning. I’m quite sure I did my fair share of complaining and will forever be grateful for the never-ending patience that my parents showed me. I learned a lot about hard work and personal drive during those days. My dad was a constant moving body, exhibiting solid work ethic and the positive outcomes that result from accomplishing a task.
When my parents were introduced years ago, my mom had just been accepted to school to be a veterinarian. She decided to marry my dad instead, for which I am eternally grateful since I wouldn’t exist otherwise. But when I was in high school she was able to start populating our little farm with dogs, cats, goats, chickens, ducks, the occasional deer, and eventually, alpacas and sheep.
Between the farm, the beautiful home in the country, and my mom’s impeccable and innate decorating skills, I basically grew up in Joanna Gaines world before anyone knew who she was. The entry way is graced with WELCOME signs from every country my parents have been to. There’s the head of a longhorn named Pecos Pete hanging over the limestone fireplace. The floors are pine from the barn that used to stand where the house is now located. The living room chandelier is made out of a wheel from the hay rake my granddad used to ride. The couches are oversized and perfect for napping. The back porch is ideal for parties. I acknowledge that I’m completely biased but I realized in the few days I was there, that I can easily call it “home” without giving it a second thought.
But a few days later, when I was on a plane back to Augusta, GA, the phrase “I’m going home” came out of my mouth without a giving it a second thought. And home it is. My heart was in Augusta in the house that my husband and I own: our perfectly imperfect little house with our two dogs and the flower bed that needs weeding and the kitchen where I know where to find the silverware drawer and the couch that I put my feet on.
I have decided, after much rambling thought, that it is okay to call both of these places home. Because in both of these places I find love and family and am free to enjoy the comfort of my surroundings.