I’ve heard the saying, “Home is where you hang your hat.” In my case, it would be more accurate to say home is where you hang your helmet, your bat bag, your chlorine scented swim suit, your CrossFit bag or any variety of sports equipment that is unloaded from the car and drug into the house every night of the week. My home is the sanctuary I walk in to and leave everything else behind. I can drop my school backpack inside the door, kick off my cleats, or take off my coffee stained work shoes and just relax. I can find comfort after a long day at school, a busy shift at work, a thrilling win on the softball field or a crushing defeat. It’s where the people who love me the most in this world are waiting inside to support me no matter what.
I’ve lived in my house since I was four years old. I watched as we cleared the land, laid the foundation and build it board by board. It was just a shell of concrete, wood and paint. When we moved in and started making memories, it became our home. We brought my baby sister home here, left our handprints in the concrete base of our flag pole and buried our family dog of 17 years, Bailey the Beagle, in the yard. It’s where I can snuggle up on the couch with my favorite soft blanket, puppies snuggled at my feet, binge watching “Friends” with my sisters until I fall asleep. Home is where I played catch with my mom in the yard, hit the volleyball around with my sisters, hit balls in the batting cage my dad built and roasted marshmallows in the fire pit with my giggling friends.
Being home means being comfortable. It’s the familiar smell of banana bread baking, the sound of my sister in the shower while I wait my turn or the feel of my favorite fleece blanket when it’s cold outside and I’m warm in bed. Home means being myself without any judgement. I can wake up and walk downstairs to snuggle dogs on the couch with last night’s mascara smeared on my eyes and my hair ratted in a pony tail. Home means unconditional love from my family, even when I’m tired and cranky.
As I leave my home in August, bound for college in Montana, my dorm will become my new home. I hope my roommate becomes like family and I meet new friends that feel like sisters. After that I’ll have apartments until I settle down into my own house and make it a home. It will never again be the same as my childhood home, living with my parents and sisters, but I’ll fill it with my own things, create my own memories and make it a home for my family. I’ll know I’m truly “home” when I feel safe, comfortable and I’m surrounded by those who love me the most.