I was thinking recently about what home is. As I pondered, I came upon several different ideas of what and where I feel at home. Of course my first thought of home is where I grew up. My parents live in the same house they were in when I was born. In fact, they moved into that house just a couple months before my mom had me. The home isn’t big, it’s what would be considered a starter home, built at the end of World War II to house the soldiers returning from the war. My dad has done an excellent job of keeping it in good condition, doing the majority of the maintenance himself. My husband has helped with some of the larger projects, like reroofing, remodeling the bathroom, that has since been remodeled again, and just this past spring, installing new siding as well as insulating the walls, as that had not ever been done. I have many memories playing in the yard playing with friends, movie nights at home, games of all sorts in the living room and dining room, eating with family, visiting with friends, so many memories. I love the home I grew up in, and in some ways I thought it would never be replaceable with my own home.
When my husband and I got married we lived in travel trailer inside of his shop building. We didn’t want to incur debt building our home, so we lived there for 17 years while we built the home we now live in. Debt or inconvenience, it depends on which you prefer to live with more. We chose inconvenience, and I would do it again in a heartbeat, just so I didn’t have the debt. The shop never really felt like home for me though, I always knew it was a temporary place to live, and I felt like we were always camping (thus the reason I dislike camping now. 17 years is a long time to camp). But now that we are in our house, it feels like home. It’s interesting how having our own space to do with as we want makes a huge difference. And making a home together with my husband has been a sweet experience. We have different ideas and tastes, but have always been able to figure out how to make it all work so we’re both comfortable. The building is not finished, but it’s still home.
But, I have learned over the years, that the building really isn’t what makes a home. I remember the first time my parents came to Alaska. It was 5 years after my husband and I had gotten married. We had a great time exploring some of the beauty of Alaska together, and just enjoying each other’s company. It’s then that I realized that I don’t necessarily have to be at my parents house to feel like I am home. No longer was the house, with all it’s memories, a requirement to feel at home. My parents are what made that building, that house, a home. I realized then too, that whether we were living in the shop, or now, when we live in our beautiful house, I feel at home where my husband in particular, and my children are. I love my house, don’t get me wrong, but in the end, it’s just a building. My husband is home to me. My children are home to me. It’s the family connections that make wherever I am, home.
My children are now starting to leave home and start their own lives. I am so excited to see where they go, and what they do with their lives. They are awesome people. But as they go, I hope they know that they can always come home, no matter where the building may or may not be, I hope that where their mom and dad are always feels like home. The last thing I thought about was when our parents are no longer with us. While I hope that is way in the distant future, it will eventually come. How do I find home when they are gone? Memories. I was thinking about how just the thought of my parents and siblings, my husband and children, even when we aren’t together, can bring a sense of home. Maybe not quite the same, but remembering helps us to feel, helps us to appreciate, gives us comfort. I remember my Grandma Pearl. There are times when I smell something and I am taken right back to her kitchen, right back to a memory, and it fills me with home. I guess what got me thinking on all this was the date 8/8/88. On Aug. 8 of 2021 my kids were commenting on the date. The memory of standing in a grocery store in Richfield, Utah with my Grandma buying soda for something to do with the Sevier County Fair on 8/8/88 came rushing back in vivid detail. I remember it because we had all commented on the date at that particular time, and I had said, the next time it’s like that will be on 9/9/99, which would be my birthday, and I thought that was pretty cool.
Making memories, especially sweet memories with family will always bring us home, whether in person, or just in a feeling, we have that opportunity. I hope that you have a place you can call home, and some sweet memories that make it that way. I hope that things like smells and sights bring you back to sweet memories. And if, for some reason they don’t, I hope you make new ones that will. Not all memories are good ones, but we can work on making good ones now for the future, just like we can work on making our houses homes for future generations.