You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right. - Maya Angelou
During a recent visit back to my native Indianapolis, my youngest child and I had the pleasure of staying with my mother and godmother at the newly renovated condominium they now share. Located on a lake within a natural preserve, it is a gorgeous home in a beautiful, tranquil setting—and just minutes away from the home I grew up in for my entire life before college. But it was this childhood home—a white two-story colonial-style with its polished wooden banister and cozy living room; the acre-sized yard with shady trees in which I spent years playing, running, imagining and just being a kid; the long, winding driveway where I learned how to ride a bike and drive a car—where my most vivid memories take place. It is this home that was harder to say goodbye to than I ever wanted to admit.
Growing up in the same home is a more precious gift than people may realize. Having the same house to go back to during college break, staying in the same bedroom where five-year old nightmares and sick days home from school occurred, never seemed as special then as it does now. Perspectives change. There were teenaged tears cried on those pillows, at that dining table popsicles were eaten to soothe the pain from tightened braces, and late nights of girly giggles kept everyone up during sleepovers in the family room. This home has hosted birthday parties, graduations and my wedding reception. And it has welcomed three grandchildren to share the same kinds of memories, as they play in the same yard, swinging on those same trees I did, riding bikes down the same drive. It’s been beautiful watching my own children visit their Grammy and enjoy the same home I grew up in.
It is this home I had already said goodbye to at other times in my life—moving to college, moving to my own small rental house, then moving to Fort Wayne and marrying my husband. Yet it always seemed the house would be there, my mother always there—I never imagined her not living there or not having that home to come back to, no matter how old I get. It is this sense of permanence that grounded me, knowing that this home would always be there. When I learned my mother would be selling it, I never let myself fully feel the loss until recently. I felt a part of my roots was gone when those walls holding all those decades of memories were gone.
And yet, with a life and family of my own, how could I not feel at home here? This is my home, my husband and children—not our house, but our family—no matter where we live. It is the people you love and the children you raise. It is the past memories you recall and the new ones you make. It is the traditions you pass on, the shared dinner table discussions, all the hugs and kisses, the board games played in front of the fire, and the feeling of unending love. It is this place and this peace of mind—this is home to me.