This is a response to a prompt my teacher gave in class and I felt like it was so powerful of an idea that I just had to share it 🙂
I’ve always been told I’m wise beyond my years. Coming from a broken family forced me to grow up and mature faster than some of my siblings. Through the years I’ve had countless “homes”. I’ve lived with different members of my family at different times, I’ve lived with my boyfriend for a few nights at a time, and I lived here at college with some of my best friends. But in every aspect of my life home is different. I’ve had amazing memories in some homes, and I’ve had some horrific ones. The one key factor that never changes is the people around me.
When I was a very young child, I lived in my grandparents house. I shared a room with my mother right down the hall from my Uncle, his high school girlfriend and my two loving grandparents. Whenever I visit there I have a sense of home that is very strong with me. Just the smell of the house, as I walk in the door can make everything on my mind disappear. The soft feel of the carpet beneath my toes, the hard board you can feel in the middle of the couch that has always been there, and the endless amount of snack that Geegum buys specifically for each person. The whole atmosphere is just relaxing, but there is one thing that has always bothered me about it. It only feels that way when others are around. I’ve spent nights there alone, and it fills my heart with a sense of loneliness. Almost like it’s not home if they aren’t around. The idea of losing my grandparents some day is the scariest thing to me. Not only because they are my best friends, but they are my home. My Geegum or Grandmother is now the oldest living relative in our bloodline on her side of the family. Just this past winter we had an older family member pass away, and she looked at me and said “I guess I’m next”. After that, I had to leave the room. The idea of events like thanksgiving dinner or our Christmas eve party just don’t seem possible without her. She is the heart of the family. Without her, I wouldn’t know where my next home would be.
This idea came to me around senior year of high school. My family experienced a house fire where we lost everything we owned. I went to school in the morning with a bedroom full of belongings, and by lunchtime, all I owned was what was in my book bag and locker. It was really emotional because it was about ten days before Christmas. My mother had lost all of the gifts she bought for family and friends, we no longer had ornaments or a tree from years of traditions, and we had no home to go to. This really drove home the idea that a home wasn’t a place for me anymore; it was the people around me. There were hundreds of people within our community that donated things to our family. Some we knew, most we did not, but these people wanted us to know that they were there to help. I soon learned that not only did my family make me feel at home, but so did the community that I lived in. As a student that was part of the music programs, the people involved with that made sure I had clothes, food, supplies for school, things for my music programs, and that I didn’t lose sight of my happiness in such a tragedy. My one director paid to take me on the Broadway trip to New York City with the musical cast because he didn’t want me to miss out just because my family was now very tight on finances. To this day that is one of the kindest things anyone has done for me. Those people in the community didn’t want us to feel like we were on our own. The made us feel just as at home as when we had a physical home.
This lead to the second time I lived with my grandparents, except this time a little different. Now my sister and I shared that room, my littlest sister and her father shared my uncle’s old room, my mother slept downstairs in the living room, and my grandparents were still down the hall. I wasn’t at home, after growing up somewhere and knowing this house as my grandparents it no longer felt like my home, but I was home because my family was there. Now living in our current house almost four years later, I don’t consider that my home. For most of that time, I have lived here in Lock Haven. I spent two years in a residence hall and have now spent two years in my own apartment with my best friend. Moving around hasn’t given me a concrete home in Lock Haven, but surrounding myself with loving and caring friends has. During breaks I find myself missing my roommates not the place. I miss the sense of fun and love we all share while becoming the adults we’re learning to be. My boyfriend is the same way. I have only lived with him for short times, but for a long time, he has been my home. With him, I feel safe and loved and like nothing else matters. I can be anywhere with him, or my sisters, or my best friends, and still feel perfectly at home.
I look at it this way; “home” and my house are two completely different things. My house it the physical place where my family or friends live, but it would be nothing if they weren’t there. When you move, but drive by your old neighborhood, you don’t say “hey, there’s my old home” most of the time you say it’s your old house. I think that your home is something you can never lose. Yes, people may pass, but that doesn’t mean that your home is gone. When my Geegum is gone, it’s not like I’m going to lose my home. I’ll just have to adapt my idea of home with her as a memory. When I’m a mother, the whole idea of home is going to change when my world becomes about a child. Every day my home is different, but what matters to me is that the people I consider home, the community I consider home, the love that I consider home will always be there. To me, my home will always be in my heart, and no one will ever take that from me.