On Thursday (July 7th) my lovely friend JL at Dodge Writes crafted an intensely moving poem based on the theme "Home is where they love you". She offered these words as a writing prompt for us to share. Here is what I have to say...
If we think of home as the place where you grew up, then I have no home to return to. My parents have both passed over to the spirit world now. The last home they owned has long since been sold to another family. It wasn't the house I grew up in anyway, so what drew me there for the rare visits I could afford to make from such a distance, was that they lived there, and the house was filled with things I remembered from my childhood which still made it feel somewhat like home.
The saddest part of closing out my father's apartment just a little over a year ago was the final disbursement of not the big things but the small ones that spelled home... mom's cookie jar, dad's tackle box (which my husband now has), doilies on the dressers (which are in my keeping now) nicnacs, books, record albums, linens, kitchenware and the like, which had been a part of our family for years and years. The hutch in my dining area is filled with my mother's set of Desert Rose dishes. I rarely use them, opting for the simple, easy care Corelle ones in the cupboard, but they remind me of all the meals we ate together as a family using those dishes, and how my mother scrimped and saved to add each piece to her collection. I didn't care much for them back then, they are beautiful to me now, with my older eyes and older perspective. In reality, my growing up years don't hold a lot of fond memories, there was a lot of sadness and misunderstanding in that house too. I often felt like I didn't really belong there.
So is that what home means then? When someone asks me "where is your home", I am quick to respond "South Dakota", as that's where I was born and raised. It isn't the geographical boundaries that are meaningful to me, it's that my heart is tied to the land there, the rolling farm hills, lakes and trees of my youth. I am a child of the prairie, a "flatlander" as some call it. Mountains and seashores are beautiful to me, but foreign. When I return to Dakota and cross the river marking the boundaries to "home" tears always make their way down my face. I know that it is where I come from.
Since then I've had many homes in many places, in fact I've done so much moving in the last 30 years that it would take a separate post to list them all. Sadly, not many of those places really felt like home to me, because there was always so much confusion and sadness that I never really felt loved or like I belonged. Of course I have many good memories of my children growing up and the life we shared together, but there was always that "elephant in the living room" - the spouse who often made life miserable. I rarely felt at peace. So no... I don't really call those places "home". More acccurately, they were stopovers on the road to hell.
Finally, almost five years ago, I decided to do something about that, to reclaim my life. Many of you know that story. In short, I left my third husband and thirteen years of a nightmare marriage, left our home in the country, and moved into an apartment on my own. Finally I had a place to call home, a place that felt welcoming to me, although very lonely. Deep down I knew that this was also to be just a stopping place, and that somehow by the grace of God, I would be moving on with my life.
Little did I know that God had the most awesome plan for my life! One year after moving out on my own I met John on the Internet and the rest is history... beautiful history that makes me smile just to recall the magic of those first days and weeks shared!
We live on a small piece of land in the country now, in a simple manufactured home that we have redone to suit our tastes and needs, a house filled with sunlight and a rainbow of colors, a house shared with five beloved furry felines, surrounded by miles of dry pastureland and no noisy neighbors. This is a place of peace, warmth, laughter, understanding and acceptance, and above all LOVE - amazing love! I had no idea just how good love could be, though I used to long for it. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am loved and appreciated and accepted just as I am - flaws and all. I love and treasure my husband even more - if that is possible.
I am truly and at long last really home now, and life is good. Home isn't about where you come from or where you are... it's about where you are loved, and this is where I belong!