home (n): the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered. A house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.
According to Dorothy there’s no place like home, but what really makes a home? Is it square footage or the color of paint on the walls? The piles of laundry or the knick-knacks on the shelf? Maybe it should be home is where you change the diapers. Home is where you cook the bacon? Make the babies? Lose your shit? After spending some time away from my physical home I came to the realization that home, contrary to its definition, is not a brick and mortar type building but more of an emotional shelter within us that we can take with us wherever we may be headed.
I packed my bags to leave the farm for a few days and head to the city. I have to be honest, I had my reservations. It wasn’t because I was leaving my cozy kitchen or the pillow on my bed, it was leaving my babies. Leaving the loves of my life. Leaving my home. Farmer Bob is beyond a competent parent, but mama was leaving and no one can do it like mama can do it (or so we like to tell ourselves). Would they eat well? Shower? Brush their teeth? Who would wipe PITA’s butt? I knew I would miss the hugs and the smooches, the “I wuv you mama” before bed, the Dutch ovens at night…oh wait.
As I departed my plane in Chicago and headed for the exit, I saw the smiling face of my very dear friend DG waiting for me at the baggage claim. It was at that very moment that I knew I was home. Wait? How could that be? I don’t live in Chicago, I damn sure don’t live at baggage claim four. How could just that one moment, that one smile, that first of many hugs fill me with a sense of home?
Friendship does that to you. Being enveloped by those who know you and are still willing to be seen in a public place with you. Seeing the joy in their eyes as you talk about your kids and realizing that it isn’t because they are thinking about their own littles, it’s because they truly love yours as their own. Never enduring the awkward silence because there are more words than there is time. The tears as you leave because even though you miss your own family, there just wasn’t enough time.
Home is so much more than the physical attributes of a house. Home is in a hotel room in downtown Chicago discussing important things such as potato chips and cake balls. It’s in the hotel bar where no matter which way you turn there is a friendly hug waiting to swallow you up. It’s a quaint apartment filled with baby gear, hummus, and hot rollers. It’s sitting around a table in a busy restaurant trying to catch just a few minutes with every smiling face. It’s laughs and hugs. Jokes and stories. Home is being with those that you love, no matter where that may be.