You want to know something funny? I’ve talked a lot on this blog about the lack of a meaning of “home” for me. I even contributed my take on what home is for an art project last year, declaring that “home,” for me, was on the road. After all, home is tough to define. I lived in 5 cities and 10 houses by the time I finished high school, so what is home?
Well, I have a confession to make. I realized that I was wrong.
See, up until last week, my parents lived in the same house they’d lived in since my freshman year of high school (9th grade), always being in a familiar place to come back to. I may have lived in 3 apartments during my 5 years in New York City, but still they were there. Even as I found myself bouncing all over the world over the past couple of years, that room I once lived in that I knew so well was still there for me.
I didn’t make it back much, but when I did, there was always comfort in that familiar environment. Comfort, and memories…
I grew up in that house, spending nearly the entirety of my high school years there. Pets lived and died there. My grandmother, who I so adored, also passed away there. Memories of my adolescence stood within its four walls. The great view from the back yard. Counting the planes lining up to land while chilling in the hot tub. The stunning sunrises on the way to school.
And you know what the sad part was? I didn’t realize just how much I loved this house until it was too late.
My parents sold the house several months ago and the closing date always loomed up ahead as some far off day in the future. Even with the packing frenzy going on, it never really seemed real. That is, until the morning before the closing, when my parents and I would all go our separate ways, never to set foot in that house again.
Walking out that front door, I found myself totally overcome with emotion, fighting back tears as I said my goodbyes. It wasn’t that I was leaving my parents…I’m very used to that process. It was that I was leaving this house with the knowledge that I would never see it again…
Right then I got it. I had a “home” all along and this was it. The familiarity and the comfort were gone. And isn’t that really what home is? Sure, there’s that saying, “Home is where the heart is,” and that may be true. But nothing will ever really replace the significance that this particular house had for me.
I may very well find another “home,” but what if I don’t realize it until it’s too late again?
What about you?
Have you left your childhood home for good? What was your experience?