There's no place like home
There's something I've been thinking about a lot lately: The notion of home. What it really means to be at home, where we feel at home, what "there's no place like home" really means. I'm not sure why I've been thinking about this so much or, more specifically, there isn't one thing that has led me down this path; it's a combination of things.
"The best journey always takes us home."
One of those things was a recent trip out of town to attend the funeral of a lifelong friend's father, who died suddenly and unexpectedly. This friend is more like a brother to me, and his wife is my sister. We have all known each other since our early teens and they are, in every way that matters, family to me. You see, I am an only child and I don't have biological siblings, but I consider S and U my siblings, plain and simple. The bond I share with U goes far beyond biology. We have been there for each other at our highest highs. We've been maids of honour in each other's weddings. We've helped each other through the death of both of our fathers. We were pregnant with our daughters at the same time. We went to high school and university together. We were there for first jobs, first broken hearts, first loves of our lives. We have done life together. I know that if there were ever a time I needed her, she would be there for me, no questions asked. Sitting in her kitchen, I don't feel like I have to stand on ceremony and wait to be offered something to eat or drink. (Funny side note: Her hubby offered me a coffee once and then proceeded to forget to make it. I'm never letting him live that down. Ever.) We hug like we mean it and we say "I love you" freely and genuinely. We know each other's parents and families. We have been a part of each other's family celebrations. I am totally and completely myself with her, for better or worse. She knows all my quirks and loves me anyway. We are sisters. She is home to me.
I am at home with my husband. I married the best guy in the world. We are friends. We work together. We spend a lot of time together. He makes me laugh, he puts me back together when I fall apart, he is my biggest fan, and i am his. He cheers me on and he kicks me in the butt when I need it (figuratively, of course). He is the second best thing that's ever happened to me, topped only by the birth of our miracle baby. I thank my lucky stars every day for him, and there is no one with whom I'd rather be travelling through the ups and downs of life. I don't know how I got so lucky, but I do know he is home to me.
I am at home with my friends. I have the best friends in the world, truly. There are the friends that I grew up with, the friends I went to school with, the friends I've met through work, and the friends I've met in the million other ways we cross paths with people as adults. No matter how we met or where they fit into my story, my friends are my home. I have friends who are those middle-of-the-night, call-even-if-you-wake-me friends. The kind who have my back and the kind I'd trust to raise my daughter if the day ever came when my husband and I weren't around to do it ourselves (God forbid). I have friends whom my daughter calls aunt and uncle, and that's no small thing to me. Having great role models in her life is just as important to me as having those friends have my own back. Having people in your corner is invaluable. It's necessary. It's home.
"Friends are the family we choose."
I am at home with my mom. Wherever we are, I know that no one on earth understands me the way she does. She can read my mind in that "mother always knows" way and she comes through for me even when I didn't realize I needed the support. She is there for me. She is steadfast and unfailing. She is strong and the best role model I could have wanted. She is the keeper of my childhood memories and the reason I feel like I'm doing a pretty decent job at being a good mom myself. She is the reason I believe I can do anything. She is home to me.
I am also at home at my family's cottage. It is there that I spent every childhood summer, and the place where my own daughter is now making her sun-dappled summer memories. It is the place where i feel my late father's presence the most. I miss him every single day, but when I am at the cottage, the place where his soul was its happiest, I feel as though he is with me stronger than anywhere else. It is, in every way, my happy place. That tiny island in the middle of Georgian Bay is home to me.
I am at home surrounded by the sounds of my heritage, being joyfully played and sung by my aunts and uncles as my big, boisterous and loving family gathers around. Whether it's at my godfather's house every year on Boxing Day or gathered around a campfire at our cottage, I am at home when we share our traditional songs and music and our loved of our heritage. I may have been born in Ontario, but I am fiercely proud of the Newfoundland blood that roars through my veins!
Finally, I am at home within the pages of a book. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably already know that I am a big fan of reading. I love books. I love the way the feel. I love the way a new book smells. I have always been an introvert, and throughout my life I have found solace and comfort within the pages of a book, from being a bullied kid to a mom in search of a few minutes of downtime. Books are home to me.
These are a few of the places in which I am at home. What defines home for you? Where are you at home?