Home is proving to be a funny little word for me these days.
For most of my life, I have equated it with a physical place – like my parents’ house growing up (where Kenny and I also lived after we got married. Don’t worry – we didn’t have a weird family compound thing going. My parents abandoned ship a few months before we married after it was pretty apparent that my oldest younger brother and I had no plans to leave them. So, based solely on the fear that they’d have to feed and care for my soon-to-be husband in addition to their own grown children, they left us and moved to New Jersey and we rented their house in Philadelphia for a few years. Ok, ok. It wasn’t entirely the fear of a forced adoption of my husband that made moving look good – there was an element of good timing in there, too. Haha.) A few years later, we bought our own place and our house Jenkintown became ‘home’, rendering the house on Wellington Street – ‘my parents’ old house’ and their house in New Jersey – ‘my parents’ new house.’
You know what I mean – when you say you want to go home, you picture your house or living quarters. (Right?!) Well, these days, I am finding that ‘home’ is actually more of a feeling for me. Sure, I do really like returning to my house here in Oregon after a trip or a long day out, and it does feel like home, but not home home. (It may feel like home mostly because I know my comfy black pants are waiting for me upstairs though?!? Haha.)
Anyway… you might remember a recent phone call with my oldest friend – instant “home”. Now, we’re fresh off a week back East spent with our close friends – and I had seven glorious days of that warm fuzzy “home” feeling. And although I haven’t seen them since before Christmas or spoken to them at length since that time (that is, our main points of contact were Facebook comments, emails or texts), they felt like “home” to me from the minute I saw them (even though they reeked from an unfortunate landing up-chuck incident) (Just kidding, DQ and Al! Really, you didn’t reek.)
It was comforting. They were familiar – and they were already my friends! I could relax and not have to be ‘on’ – they know me and I know them. No pressure. Just fun. Such a huge relief to feel like my good-old-fashioned self! Old jokes, funny stories, shared experiences – for both the adults and the kids – yay, yay aaaaaaaaaaand, yay!
Don’t get me wrong – I do like it here in Oregon. It’s beautiful, the air is fresh, the tap water tastes delicious, and my family is very happy all around. I just feel a little off without my personal infrastructure (family, friends, familiar haunts, knowing where the canned tomatoes are in the super market. Heck, just plain knowing how to get to some super markets without GPS!) And because I feel off, I am finding that I treasure each and every feeling of “home” – especially those moments spent with family and friends.
I do have to say it’s kind of fun to think of “home” as feelings and experiences and memories vs. a physical space. (Maybe everyone else already does this and I am just way, way, waaaaay late to the party!?) Would I rather have my family and friends close by? No doubt. But it’s interesting for me to take notice of when I experience “home” – I should start keeping track!
Just for fun – Old “Home” Snaps