When I brainstormed for today’s topic, I was thinking about the day I left for college. I was absolutely terrified, but so stressed out with trying to fit every last bag into the car that I didn’t even get the chance to take one last look at my childhood house as we drove away. Within a few weeks, after the attachment (which clung fiercely in the beginning) started to loosen its hold on me, and my home had become a dorm room.
On this fourth day of gratitude, I am taking the time to appreciate home, and what that means to me.
For the longest time, I was overly fond of my house. In fact, I only had two sleepovers growing up. While all of my friends would gather nearly every weekend throughout primary school, I couldn’t bring myself to stay past 10 pm. It was as if a switch in me was programmed to only relax and feel comfortable in my own room with my own family at my own house. But I quickly began to feel the exclusion of being the only girl who called her mother when everyone began laying out their sleeping bags, and would wistfully listen to the stories from after the lights went out.
One night, determined not to be a “baby” anymore (I was probably in the fifth or sixth grade), I pushed through my uncomfortable doubts, and called my mother to tell her that I had made the decision to spend the night, and that I would see her in the morning. “Are you sure, honey?” She whispered, as if her super-power Mom ears could hear the fear in my voice. “Yes,” I said hesitantly, and hung up before the tears were set free.
I didn’t sleep but two hours that night, and lay awake shivering on the ground of a foreign bedroom which is still imprinted in my mind. My wandering eyes analyzed every inch of that damn room, and I forced myself to lay still the entire night, in hopes that the sun would rescue my poor despairing self.
Looking back at that homesick horror, and laying in a bed over three hours away from the home I grew up in, I realize that I was wrong.
When I cried all through the night, I wasn’t crying because I needed my physical house, with walls and carpet and a soft bed. I was crying because I needed my bedtime routine. I was crying because I needed my mom. I was crying because I needed the feeling of comfortable normality.
Today, I understand now that the feeling of home doesn’t lie in Nebraska, or any other address on a map. Home is wherever I sense safety, comfort, routine, and love. Some days, I’ve found this most commonly exists where my parents and brothers and boyfriend is. And the others? I am my own home, because only I have the power to create the safety, comfort, routine, and love that I need.
I am at ease because of my outlook and my home, and I am thankful.