What feelings does this word evoke? What sorts of memories does it
recall? Which of your senses start to tingle? How would you represent
what this word means to you?
Home is my safe place: the people I love and who love me back are there. There is the comfort of familiar things and routines and treasures. As I have gotten older, however, I realize that 'home' doesn't have to be a structure at all, that anytime I am with my beloved husband and kitties, I am home.
The house my parents owned from the year I was in fifth grade until 1998 when they sold it and most of the contents to move into a senior living apartment was home, and, I suppose, will always hold the place in my memory as my childhood home. I knew everything about it: which stairstep creaked when you stepped on it, where the memory boxes were stashed in the upstairs closets, how to close a door quietly so that my folks didn't hear me come in. My room had a tin windowsill outside the dormer, and I always heard the first raindrops. A huge lilac bush bloomed under another window in my room, and lilacs remain my favorite spring flower, evoking security, new growth, calm, and a sense of continuity: they bloomed every year.
As a young married woman, I created several homes in different cities, and made them cozy and welcoming and familiar, with little family treasures displayed on walls and shelves, made them feel safe for us. When I moved into my own little apartment in Pacifica, having left my home in Birmingham to create a new life, I arranged the treasures I'd brought with me to help me feel safe and familiar, and I established new routines for my new home.
When Tony and I moved in together, we mingled treasures and routines, but our safety and comfort was all bound up in each other far more than in that condo where we heard every footstep, every airplane landing at SFO, every siren. We lived there but our home was within our relationship more than within the structure.
And now, in a home we built 12 years ago and still love, we have both a safe, welcoming structure encompassing ourselves and our relationship and our lives. The very best place -- the sense of being truly home --- is at night in our bed, holding hands next to each other, our kitties settled in beside us. That sense travels with us in our little travel trailer too. Anywhere we are together has now become home: the physical parts are dear and familiar and warm, but it is who we are and that we love that has brought us to our home.