Saturday, January 12, 2013


I've been thinking a lot lately about what makes a home. I started thinking about it the other day when my parents mentioned that sometime in the next several years, they might consider downsizing, selling the house I lived in from nine years old through college. Although I know this makes practical sense, in an emotional sense it's difficult to comprehend. It would be hard for me to give up that sense of security I always get when I walk into my parents' house. It would also make me sad to know that Edwin might not have many memories of the house that contained so many of my holidays, birthdays and special moments, including telling my parents I was engaged, getting ready for my wedding, and last year, telling them I was pregnant. So the potential loss of home has been on my mind lately.

Then I started reading a book in which the main character had no sense of home at all because her mother was constantly re-marrying and uprooting her. This upbringing led to most of the character's adult issues with relationships, career (she's a travel writer) and sense of community. (The book is called The First Husband by Laura Dave. I'm about halfway through and would rate it "ok.")

And finally, this morning my husband and I took our son to the diner in Millbrook, NY, the town we lived in for three years before buying our house closer to Poughkeepsie. It's a small town with little substance but a lot of charm, and we loved it there. As I stood in the middle of Main street, breathing in the cool, gray air, I realized how much I felt at home. And that was when I recognized what makes a home for me.

I've heard people say home is where your family is, and that has a lot of truth, but I think one can feel at home living alone as well.

I've heard people say home is where love is, but if you love yourself or if you love God, you could feel at home anywhere.

I've heard people say home is where your memories are, but that doesn't explain why people can walk into a house for the first time and feel at home instantly.

I've heard people say home has a permanence that other residences don't, but I think it's possible for people who move frequently to consistently find home again.

For me, home is where I feel safe and at peace- emphasis on the peace. Maybe because there was a lot of stress when I was growing up (due to the thyroid cancer), I crave that peaceful, secure feeling. I feel that in my house. I feel that in Millbrook. I feel that in my parents' house. I feel it in my in-laws' house too. I even feel it, to a lesser extent, in public places like my gym, where I worked for a few years in my twenties. I feel it when we go on vacation to Amish country, a favorite family spot for years.

It's wonderful to have so many places that feel like home. But it's nice to know that if any of those houses or towns disappear, I can find home again by seeking peace- whether it's within myself, or contained in a special place.

What makes a home for you?

The famous Millbrook Diner

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