My house is a gray one-story with red trim that my mom bought through Coldwell Banker 23 years ago. It sits on a sloping hill on a dead-end road. It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a wood stove that we use to keep warm in the winter. It has laminate floors (we ripped up all our carpet a few summers ago) and a sliding door that overlooks our backyard. However, that is not what makes my house a home.
This house would not be my home without my blind cat, Hoover, yowling outside my bedroom door at 4:30 in the morning. Home is within my bedroom walls, hand-painted purple and yellow by my aunt when I was a baby. Home is the belching wood stove with a creaky handle that we feed in the winter to stay warm. Home lies between each fold of the thick crochet blanket that my mom made before my knee surgery. Home is in the matching paintings hung up on our living room wall, a fond reminder of the art classes my mom and I took together. Home is nestled at the end of our driveway, right behind the thundercloud plum trees that survived the Great Storm of 2015; now they grow sideways out of our hill.
My home also lies within my grandparents’ log house. It can be seen in the dining room, where every guest gets measured; their names and height are inscribed on a large log pole. Home is in the kitchen, where my grandma and I have spent hours kneading dough, checking the oven, and beating eggs in her old Kitchen Aid mixer. Home is in my grandparents’ forest, where my family and I spend long summer days sawing down trees and chopping them into firewood. Home is in the upright Steinway piano nestled in the corner of their house, practically begging someone to bang out a lively tune.
For many years, I believed that a roof, floors, furniture, and a kitchen are what a home consists of. I spent my time thinking about the word in more of a literal sense, but now I know that is not necessarily an accurate definition. A home is so much more — a house is merely a skeletal structure that shelters the heart within. Home is in the details and funny little memories that no one pays much attention to, like how the dishwasher lulls me to sleep at night and the bumps in our driveway that I have subconsciously memorized. A home does not have to be one house; it can reside in different places, each one as comforting as the next. Everyone’s home is different, and I would not trade my version for anything.