To me, a home is a place you live. It’s a place where you keep your clothes and other belongings. It’s a place where your identity is sculpted through your environment. A place where your room displays your interests through posters on the wall. A place where you ponder ideas for hours on end about life and its meaning. Maybe for me, it’s all that, but for some, it can be quite the opposite. It could just be the place where you eat and sleep. The place where you’re forced to come back to. The place where you hide in your room from your parents. Can such a contrast really describe a home? I think not. Maybe these facets represent a house, but is a house truly a home?

A house could mean abusive parents. A house could convey unpleasant sounds and thoughts. A house could be the thing you dread going to after school. Or the place you want to run away from and never come back to. A house isn’t always someone’s home.

I was lucky enough to avoid these conflicts. I have parents that would help me through thick and thin. Ones that taught me the importance of respecting others. Ones that would make me sizzling bacon and scrambled eggs in the mornings. Ones that let me talk to them about my anxiety or even just my athletic goals. Of course, they aren’t perfect, but they are perfect to me. They are a gift that will never be overthrown. My parents are what made my house a home. My family is what gave me a home to run back to. Signing up for college or taking my first anxious steps into pre-school, I always knew they were there for me.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as I am. Parents might be the ones for some that don’t make their house a home. For them, their home is their friends and peers. Or the school that allows them to escape their abusive family. Maybe even the town they live in, separate from their house.

A home is love. It is comfort and trust. It is where you always run back to, no matter what. Love builds your home’s foundation. Comfort lies the walls. Trust gives it a roof. A home isn’t just constructed physically; it’s also mentally built. Without a heart, a home would only be a house.