I follow several blogs and one of them, raisingmadison.com, has had several guests posts about what home means to them. And it got me thinking, what does home mean to me. As I embark on my adventure to turn my house into a home for my husband and I. And our dog. And our future children. What does home mean to me.
Until recently home has always been Loudoun County. It will definitely always have a place in my heart. It is the place where I grew up, both literally and figuratively. I lived in Loudoun for 27 years, but it is where I learned most of my lessons. It is where I learned who I am and what I am capable of. Where I met and made friendships that I thought would last forever. It is also where I learned that friendships do not always last forever no matter how badly you want them to or believe they should. It is where I met my husband. It is where my future began.
And now my future is beginning. In an entirely new place. A place I get lost in because I do not know where anything is, not because everything keeps changing. We have started our life, in our brand new house, in our brand new neighborhood, with brand new neighbors that are becoming new friends. I go back and forth about this place feeling like home. When I look around and see boxes everywhere. Still. I don't feel settled, so I don't feel like home. It is exactly what I needed right now in life in general, but I don’t know that it feels like home quite yet. It will eventually, but for now it does not.
And then I started thinking about when the last time I really felt like I was home.
Definitely not the apartment that I didn’t technically live at though I pretty much did. That was not home, or anything close to it. Because I actually lived at my parents house even though I stayed there about 1% of the time.
The townhouse was not quite home. It was lived in, and comfortable, and home-y. It was a great place to live, and I was very sad to leave it (I cried, Steve made fun). Because it was a memory builder. It was the first place I lived outside of my parents home. It was the place that Steven proposed (in the kitchen, while I sat at our kitchen table and him down on one knee). It was the home we planned our wedding, talked about our hopes and dreams, and began our life as husband and wife. But it was not the place that I ever really wanted to call home forever.
Steve’s parents house never felt like home. It wasn’t my home. I felt welcome-ish there, but never really like I belonged in that house. Not because they didn’t try, but it wasn’t my home. I never felt like I was home when I was there. I always felt like I was in someone else’s home. And one day someone screamed at me “get out of my house it’s not like anyone wants you here anyway.” And no, it was not Steve. And I stopped wondering why it never felt like home. Because it wasn’t my home. It was the home of my husband and his family. It wasn’t my family, though they are by marriage, it wasn’t MY family. We did not belong there. He did, but I did not.
My parents house. Both the one they live in now and the one that I spent my youth. Those houses are home to me. I could probably walk in to the house on Dulany Ct., full of some strangers belongings, and still feel like it was my home. Because it was my home. For 15 years. For the longest period of my life, it was home. And the house in Ashburn is still home. I walk in there and immediately feel like I am home. I know that on most occasions my mom will be in her comfy chair and my dad on the couch. I know that my room is upstairs, on the left, right next to the bathroom, across from the computer room. It’s the biggest room besides my parents. It still has my stuff in it. Well, it has my stuff in it again. When I moved out the first time I took my stuff, but when we moved in with Steve’s parent’s I didn’t have the room to store it and I had no actual use for it so I figured I’d store it there. Then my mom turned it into a guest room using my stuff. And she has been hoping that she gets to keep it since she went through the trouble to set it all up and all. I don’t need it now so she is keeping it. She was thrilled. When I stay there, without Steve since my bed is a twin, I stay in my room in my bed. And I love every second of it. And I feel like I’m home.
Because home is not always about the place, it’s about the people. Home is about surrounding yourself with the people that you love. And people that love you. It’s about creating memories. Forgetting the bad. Being comfortable. Being welcome. Home is where you know you are home. Wherever that may be, you just know, this is home.