A few years ago the adage "Home is where the heart is" was again made clear to me when I returned to the town of my childhood for a visit.
I was feeling nostalgic and had the urge to go back to my roots to see the sights from when I was a child. I had moved away from this town when I was eight years old. What I discovered is that we often idealize and make grand the things from our younger years. Perhaps it is because we are small when we are young and everything around us seems large.
My childhood home was a good sized nice home - one of the nicer homes in the area according to my eight-year-old egocentric self. I remember the place fondly. Playing in the yard, having my own bedroom, neighborhood friends coming over to visit, and countless hours having fun (an probably arguing too) in all the rooms of this house. It was tragic when I learned we had to leave. I did not want to pull up stakes and move away to another house in another state, but when the time came but there was no other choice. The family moved.
Of course, I acclimated well and came to love my new location just as much and more than the previous. I had been back to visit once the old neighborhood only once before about six months after we moved. Now several decades have passed. I looked forward to seeing my old home.
My sister and I made this visit and went to the street where we had lived. It had changed some as I expected it would after several years. Then I saw our old home. Still on the corner. Only it looked really small. Nothing like the large house in my memories. Perhaps it was fate-- the house was currently vacant. That gave my sister and I the opportunity to get out and look around without looking suspicious. I didn't want to get arrested for peeping!
We circled the house and explored the front and back yards. The back yard. Where I spent hours playing. It looked foreign to me. I wanted to see myself chasing a ball through the dandelions or climbing on the swinging on the swing set. But it was sterile. Just grass and cold chain link fence.
We peeked through the windows. I imagined that I would have warm feelings as I looked through the living room window. But I didn't. I had no feelings at all. This did not seem like the home I remembered. Oh yes, it had the same architectural features and I recognized the layout an the wood doors. But it was just building material. A skeleton. Not warm & fuzzy. It was cold. Waiting for a family to come and make it a home.
That's when it was clear. A house is just a house. A home is a place where family or loved ones are. A place where you feel safe and loved. My memories of this place are not here with the tangible--- they are in my mind and heart.
Are you making memories in your home today?