I know very well the feeling of having to move away from your home. In my case, it’s due to being a military family. Having to lock away your favorite toys, books, and pictures; spending hours in seats that are uncomfortable and claustrophobic, whether it be in a car or plane; leaving behind friends and family for the unknown. During this time is when you begin to really cherish your home. You reminisce about the time spent here, good and bad.

Once you arrive at your new house, that is what it feels like. It is just a filled-in frame that sits upon concrete slabs. Within these structures, boxes had lined the walls, stacked higher than me. Everything looked gleaming as if I couldn’t dirty it. They felt rigid and remote. It wasn’t until I spent more time in it with my family. It wasn’t until I found the imperfections. The tiny stain in the carpet, dent in the table, chipped paint on the wall. It wasn’t until I started creating lasting memories, memories that connected it to me on a more profound level, that it became a home.

A home is an area of comfort, somewhere that you can be safe, surrounded by the people and things that you hold dear. Home is the meals eaten together as dogs beg at the feet of the chairs. Or finding a lost toy hidden in the cracks of the couch. The half-drunken cups of coffee, which have left a circular stain on the table. Home is the smell of baked goods emanating from the kitchen as you are called over to have a “taste-test.” Home is the junk drawer filled with items you have no recollection of getting.

Home isn’t as much of a set place as it is a feeling. It is a feeling of happiness, joy, and warmth. It is where you feel safe and secure, where you can reliably go when you need to relax. The place that is filled with the things and people you love. It is also a place where you can cry and feel sad. Where you can express your emotions to the fullest. Home is love, family, and comfort. It is the things in life that you keep in your heart to lighten your days. Home is an idea, incomparable to anything else, and within resides love and happiness.