Growing up, I lived in 4 different cities, moving 3 times. While this is no where near what military families experience, it did shape who I am and left me with a unique sense of “home”.
Every summer since I was 2, we have been vacationing with my aunt and cousins in Glen Arbor Michigan at the same cottages. 15 years ago my aunt bought one of the cottages and 10 years ago my parents bought another. It has been a true blessing that we have been able to gather every summer, as a family, in this beautiful place for a week. I’m so grateful that my kids get to experience the magic of Sleeping Bear National Park with their cousins, grandparents and family.
After a 12 hour drive, coming into the lake is a series of steep hills. As kids we would count them until …. we could just barely see it – Little Glen Lake. Then, we would go nuts pointing out the 1st glimpse of the lake, of the narrows, of the dunes, of the birch trees, of cottage, of the dock… As we did this, something in my body changed. My shoulders relaxed, my heart smiled and it felt like every cell in my body exhaled. I was home.
This year it got me thinking. Why does this place feel like home to me? I didn’t grow up there, I don’t have any friends there, I know none of the locals save my family…. and then I realized. This is the place where I feel the most ME. Its a place where I can be present in every moment. Where I am accepted for who I am (warts and all). Where I don’t feel the pressure to live up to other peoples standards. Where I can try new things, make mistakes and enjoy the learning. Where I can sit on a dock for hours, just reading my book. Where I am surrounded by people who have shared past. Where I feel most grounded.
Then, it occurred to me… this is the same feeling I seek out in relationships, jobs and friends. A sense home.
A big part of why I left Target was because it no longer felt like home. Target had changed, but I had changed too. I still love Target (who doesn’t?!) but I no longer felt … grounded, challenged, supported, present. I searched hard for my next career experience where I could feel like I was home. For me, Mt Olivet Rolling Acres and the disabilities field has been a little slice of home. I am learning a ton, making mistakes but also surrounded by people that are willing to teach and support me. And, I feel like a make a difference. Every. Single. Day.
My partnership and marriage to Tom is another great example. We don’t have the type of relationship that is all romance and roses. In fact, one of the things I love doing best with Tom is making dinner or watching our kids compete at their sport events. And, if you were to ask our closest friends, they’d say that we bicker constantly. But, we do have a shared experience (21+ years!) that I wouldn’t trade for the world. He knows me better than anyone, on my best days and my worst days and STILL sticks around. He gives me space to do what I need to do (MS150, job changes, random compulsive cleaning) without judgement. He encourages me to slow down and enjoy the moment, always picking up my books at the library. He grounds me.
So, rather than considering “home” a place, I guess I consider home a feeling. A place where I can breath, expand and love. The great thing about this definition of home is that I can feel it anywhere and with anyone. Its my choice and I’m so grateful for that!
Where/what/who do you consider home?