I left my childhood home when I was 18. I moved to Washington, DC to attend George Washington University. Since then, I've called the DC metro area home. Or at least I've thought of it as my home base. In recent years, I've tried very hard to think of home as anywhere I and my loved ones are rather than a single physical place.
However, the other day I heard Miranda Lambert's song "The House That Built Me". "If I could just come in, I swear I'll leave/ won't take nothing but a memory/ from the house that built me." My eyes filled with tears and I was desperately wishing to go back to the house where I grew up in New Jersey. Maybe it's the nostalgia that comes with being so close to 30 years old. Maybe it comes with growing up in general. Maybe it's something else.
You see, a few years ago, we had a house fire. The entire inside had to be gutted. Our dog and our cat died in the fire. Clothes, pictures, furniture and knick knacks were destroyed. I know that they are just things, and I didn't even live there at the time, but our entire lives were turned upside down for quite some time. My Mom, divorced with two kids living away from home, decided to move into a condo on the water that had much less maintenance rather than spend time fixing up a far too big house for one person. When I say I'm "going home for the weekend", what I mean is that I am going to spend the weekend at my Mom's condo in the town next to where I grew up.
Someone I went to high school with bought our old house and will presumably make a life there for his family. Now the inside looks nothing like it used to. New kids will grow up there, celebrate holidays there and make memories there. The house that contained all of my good childhood memories will serve that same purpose for an entire new family. There's a sort of palpable and painful beauty in that fact. I look forward to one day giving my children the same sort of home that I once had.
What do you think of as home? Has that concept changed for you over the years?