Most of my life, home wasn’t about where I was taking up space; home was more of a feeling. Home was with my mother. Home was where I felt safe. It was more about people than a physical location. That idea of home has been true for a long time.
Growing up, I lived in the church parsonage with my parents – a wonderful house that wasn’t ours. It belonged to the church and we were frequently reminded of that as members showed up unannounced and occasionally at odd hours. Trustees and deacons were able to gain access with their own keys, and did. They chose when and what changes were made and set the rules about what we could and could not do in or with the house. We lived with a shortage of privacy and without the freedom to make the house feel like our home.
After high school, I moved from the parsonage to the sorority house, then into various apartments. My address changed with each new opportunity. And it was easy to pick up and go where things were happening, because home is where the heart is. My apartment was just the place where I lived. Home was something different.
Things changed when I met Dave and Julia came along. Suddenly, it became important to make the place we lived our home. It took us some time to find that place, but now that we have, there is nothing like it. There is something to having a place – a physical space – you can put your heart into.
We’ve been here going on eight months now and I still marvel at the idea that this place is mine. I can do exactly what I want with it. If I want to install mirrors and a ballet bar for Julia, I can do it. That yucky outbuilding that sits exactly where Julia’s swing set should be? I can tear it down and build a new one where I want it. I can plant an orchard and will actually be here to see it bear fruit, because this is my home. This is where I’m putting down roots.
I love my house and how it sits on our street – at the summit, off the road and up on a hill, like it is the sole reason the street exists. It is situated so I may watch the sunrise from my breakfast nook and the sunset from my front porch. There is always a gentle, refreshing breeze that’s just strong enough to fly a kite. Julia can run outside and her legs give out before our property does.
I love walking “up the mountain” to the north end of our property with Julia each day and that when I look back, there are at least three cats coming along. We walk past the trees we’ve planted together and that quiet spot Dave and I visit to make out under the stars. At the farthest point from the house, you can still hear the faint ring of our dinner bell calling us home.
I love my neighborhood and how everyone is outside to visit each evening after dinner and on Sundays. When we struggle to prepare some ground for a garden, someone shows up with a rototiller, and when word gets around that we’ve suffered a loss, someone shows up with a homemade cheesecake and a listening ear. The farmer across the road plows the driveways on our street in the winter and mows our brush in summer, the guy at the end of the road fixes the cars and lawn equipment, often for free, and I make buckeyes. Everyone has something to offer each other. We all contribute.
I don’t mind living in a place where internet access is scarce and cable is a luxury most people don’t have. I am relieved to see kids spending more time outside than in, riding bikes and joining pick-up baseball and football games. I enjoy sharing the roads with the local Amish. Their horse-drawn buggies are a wonderful reminder that I don’t have to move through life so fast.
I like where I live. I feel good about raising my daughter here.
I’m happy to call this place home.