I spent every Saturday morning as a child in my living room, eating banana pancakes with my family and watching cartoons. My younger brother would sit on the end of the couch, his legs barely reaching the floor, and exude a lively laugh every few minutes. I sat next to him, and from my position I could feel the warm sun coming in from the tall and open window above me. It cast a light across the carpet, in which my grey cat always enjoyed laying in. Above us, on the four white walls surrounding our space, were two paintings: one of a big poppy flower done by my grandma, and another done by my younger brother, which depicted marvel superheroes on a beach. My mom hummed in the kitchen behind the half-wall as she whisked pancake batter, and I could hear Mumford and Sons playing quietly from her cellphone. I felt peaceful on these mornings, because of the familiarity of my surroundings. The room held my sense of security, as it always had, and I couldn’t imagine this changing.
However, two months later this did change, faster than any of us could have imagined. While my dad was cleaning out the attic, he found an area of black mold. Shortly after, we were forced to leave our beloved home for a small yurt on a friend’s property. I left all of my items behind, and so did the rest of my family. I felt like I was leaving a part of myself behind that day as I drove away, the part of me that felt invulnerable. Slowly my parents filled the one-room space with gentle colors and replaced our departed toys, including my beloved stuffed animals. It began to look more like a home, like our home, but I still felt like something was missing from before. None of those items were able to replace my sense of security.
Not feeling safe and being in this unfamiliar situation began to give me anxiety. One night, while getting ready for bed, I started to cry and hyperventilate. I was having a panic attack, and my parents both sat beside me to calm me down. I felt out of control, but as my mom held me and my dad rubbed my head, I felt my heart rate calm down. He hummed along to “Safe and Sound”, which was playing on my computer in the background. My younger brother sat on the floor watching TV, and he smiled up at me as I began to relax. For the first time in weeks, as I connected with my family, I felt safe and at home. Exactly what gave me peace in my house before, the people who raised me, were still here by my side. I realized that they were what defined where I felt at home, not the four walls around me. I now know that I can find a home wherever my family is, no matter where we may find ourselves.