I’m home! Don’t you just love that phrase? Whether you’re saying it or hearing it, those two words resonate with definitive joy. And whatever came initially to your mind when you read that first sentence is where your state of mind is – today. Even as I wrote it, there was a metaphor that surfaced beyond the reality of my brick and mortar residence from where I sit and write. “I’m home!” has also been voiced when my bare feet hit the sandy ocean or I stepped into a dance studio that I loved.
“Home” should be the word that evokes safety, trust, comfort, and love. Within our families, my husband and I have lived in more homes than any other family members, some of whom still live in the same place they’ve been for decades. They found their niche, planted roots, and journeyed steadfastly throughout their lives. For us, we just kept finding joy that took us in many directions, from single life to marriage, family, careers, and passions. We listened to our hearts and learned from tragedy and triumph, choosing homes that fit our needs and fed our most pertinent desires.
It never mattered where the home was located or how big or small the bedrooms were. What mattered were the voices we heard, the cries we nurtured, and the meals we shared over dreams and storytelling. From sunny beaches to chilly, snow-covered inland hills, all was well when everyone was home.
One thing we came to understand and appreciate: when we made changes, growth always followed, and with that growth came exciting adventures to cultivate the next phase of life. There was a time when children dictated our choices: schools, friends, sports, and neighborhood safety were top priority. As they grew up and out of the house, we got to be selfish and cater to our own needs by moving closer to our employment or back to our beloved beach. Health issues would determine another decision, leaving behind the two-story house and choosing to live closer to an aging parent.
With all of those location moves, we grew to discover how brave we could be. Even with the stress of moving and my weepy departures driving away from each sweet home, our essence remains the same. Now, more than ever, comes the realization of the passage of time, and how little of it we have to make an impact, serve our purpose, and share joy with those we meet and love. Landscapes and gardens, or porches with swings. We appreciate that the views from each home remain the same; it’s the people looking out that change.
After viewing dozens of homes this last round, I remember settling on the one where we were able to meet the current owners, and I discovered how much love I felt there. They didn’t want to leave, but the wife said the home – which I thought was almost too small for us – was just too big for them. They had raised their children and all were out of the house. Hence, the cycle of life continued. I’m sure she wept shamelessly, also, as she drove away for the last time. And I’ll bet her next home suited them just fine.
We are but travelers just passing through… May we all be content with what happens when we close that front door. Voices. Hugs. Meals. Storytelling. And the satisfying comfort of whispering those words, “I’m home.”
Abella Carroll is a freelance writer