A home is unique, just like a tree. Even though trees may all look the same, they each have a story to tell. Home is where I once convinced a couple of 6 year-olds that regular old gray rocks were moon rocks. It is where my sister is constantly bugging me to play instead of work, where my dad plays his ancient music while working even though everyone tells him to stop listening to Ilayaraja (a South-Indian musician), and where my mom laughs at my silly sister.

Not all trees grow in a straight direction. The curves, artistic bends, and wear-and-tear are what give the tree history and make it look beautiful. Home is also the same way. It can be happy scribbles of a curious little child done on pristine-white walls. It can be a broken door done by laughing children playing fairies or a little mosaic-like dent on the floor caused by a century-old water bottle partially fixed with some superglue.

Home is a tree, and each family member is a critter living on the tree. We get exposed to different climates and eventually learn to grow in them. You can learn many lessons at home, like cleanliness and manners. We also learn from each other, just like how animals pass down their good traits to younger generations. My dad has taught me to be watchful of my words, my mom has taught me politeness, and my little sister taught me patience.

At home, you can discover amazing experiences. It is like enjoying a 3-day car trip coming back and realizing you missed the feeling of being home. It is a walk on a hot summer’s day, the air faintly smelling of Downy and children savoring their ice cream. It is coming back from a sad day at school knowing that your grades aren’t the best, seeing your happy family, and forgetting your woes while you binge-watch My Little Pony.

The best part? NO ONE in the world will judge you for who you are at home. You can be that 12 AM party animal on a Saturday night. Go ahead and add to your collection of stuffed animals even though you’re almost old enough to drive. Slide down the handrail of the staircase or if you choose go down headfirst. After all, Maya Angelou did say, “If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be”. Home is the place where I tapped into my inner self and found my creativity and imagination.

What is home? It’s the memories, the love, the uniqueness, the freedom, and the happy, carefree vibes. Home isn’t a thing, it’s a flourishing tree with roots of the past, a trunk of togetherness, branches of memories, leaves of change, flowers of new beginnings, and fruit of the sweet, present moment. It’s not just a tree, but it’s a never-ending one that keeps growing as we add more memories and joyful experiences to it.