Pliny the Elder sure had it right. Home IS where the heart is.
I have moved 22 times in my life. I’ve had 18 different addresses (yes, I admit, I moved back in with mom a time or two, and I discovered college dorms weren’t THAT bad). I have lived in 3 states. But only 1 place is home.
I spent the years between 3 and 15 in a very small community called (believe it or not) House. I say that is where I grew up, though maturity is another matter entirely. The closest town is a half hour away. Growing up I was bored to tears. I could NOT wait to get out of there! I was going to go to college. I was going to be a lawyer – a Prosecution Trial Lawyer. I was going to be rich, have a very nice, large house. I was going to drive a Jaguar. I was going to marry a rich, powerful man and have 2.3 children. I had PLANS!!! Note the emphasis?
Guess what? Not much of that happened.
I went to college, but I dropped out after 5 semesters. I got married, and I got divorced (thankfully with no kids!).
Then my life got back on track . . . sort of. I went back to college and got a Bachelor’s in Accounting. Somehow over the years, I lost all desire to argue and confront people so being a trial lawyer was definitely out.
I remarried a wonderful man even if he was as broke as I was. Well, maybe he wasn’t THAT broke as he wasn’t paying off student loans. We have 2 beautiful, sweet, bratty,charming, brilliant (okay, maybe just very, VERY smart), loving, annoying, boys that drive me crazy and I wouldn’t trade for all the gold in the world. Most of the time. Other time. . . . another story.
My plans changed. But home? That never changed. I was always still that small town country girl from House. I still wore t-shirts, and jeans with boots most days. I still wasn’t comfortable in a fancy dress. I still liked to walk anywhere I could, and my idea of fun was curling up with a good book in a quiet corner somewhere. And being who I was, the place I called “home” never changed.
Oh, I used that word to any residence I had, but it was just a word. Home (with a capital “H”) was always that small community where I grew up. I could still remember the way the sunlight would shine down through the tall pines and make the water in the creek sparkle where I would walk in the summer afternoons. I could hear my grandmother’s voice calling me to come out of the woods and eat. I could remember the sounds of the whippoorwills calling at night. I remembered Home.
And I went home. The place I thought was boring growing up suddenly seemed like the place I wanted to raise my children. Quiet, old-fashioned, moral, peaceful. I didn’t have to worry about drive-by shooting, gang related violence, or drug deals at the end of my driveway. The local gas station still closes at dark. My boys play outside without me having to supervise every move they make. I don’t have to worry about strangers talking to my kids. I even live on a dirt road if you can believe it.
And Home now is just about 1 little within-walking-distance mile of Home where I grew up. Thomas Wolfe said “you can’t go home again.” He may be right. Home may not beexactly what it was while I was growing up, but it’s close enough for me . . . and my family.
My heart, my family, and I are Home.