Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr once stated, “Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” Holmes’s words could not more fittingly define my home, that is, what once was my home. I spent my entire childhood in one beautiful house in the Evergreen Valley of Olympia, Washington. Engulfed in trees and moss, I grew up jumping puddles through the winter, watching sheep have their lambs in the Spring, riding bikes through the summer, and building forest forts in the fall. When I was younger, I frequently imagined it would be thrilling to move, but there was never a reason to, so in our lovely oasis we remained until approximately one month ago. With my dad’s current work site shut down, we subsequently had to relocate to Oregon. For the first time, I needed to pack up not just my possessions, but the memories and emotions I had been accumulating for 17 years. As you probably guessed, those positive and negative emotions did not all fit in my suitcase and those were the things that made my house my home.
When I ponder positive emotions, I imagine the comfortable feelings of living in my house. I will always remember holidays with family and birthdays with friends. Fond memories of wrestling with Dad, playing with dogs, and baking with Mom stand out. Running down the stairs in the morning, which included skipping a stair a two, and then plopping down on the couch for some Saturday morning cartoons with my brother made my house a home.
Along with my joyful memories I find myself recalling the gloomy times just as easily. I mourned death in my home, I lamented lost friendships in my home. For two years, we cared for my grandma with Alzheimer’s and I spoke words I wish I had not spoken to her simply because of my impatience. The negative emotions I recollect feeling while in that home remain tethered to my memory just as strong, if not stronger than the positive. You may be wondering why these dreadful things made my house a home. Simply, because, though I made mistakes, I learned about forgiveness and redemption in the process.
After leaving my house, I realize how much I treasured not the house itself, but the life I lived there, and I more genuinely appreciate both the positive and the negative childhood memories I collected. Moving out of my house means having to make someone else’s house a home. Some friends of ours have graciously let me live with them for the remainder of my senior year. By the grace of God, I am becoming quite content where I am, not because of the building itself, but because of the memories we are making together and the people encircling me that allow me to feel at ease. Though my childhood house now embraces another family, the home remains within my cherished emotions and memories.