Home has been on my mind, like sort of consuming me. With the holidays coming, way too fast I might add, my friends are all talking about “going home”. The idea of going home for the holidays is so foreign to me. To me, home is where my husband, son and crazy dogs are so I guess I’m already home, right?
About a month ago, I was really chewing on this idea of going home and what exactly it meant to me as my husband and I took our nine year old to our “home” state to one of our college football games. As I boarded the plane, I knew I had a lot to reconcile in my brain before we landed. When I hear “home” it invokes images of family and friends of past present as well as scents of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies and hot coco and hugs from mom and dad as well as sitting around at your childhood home. I realized that I didn’t in any way make a connection that the plane was taking me “home”. My parents are divorced and albeit married to spectacular people, they live in their homes which have never been mine. When I visit, they are my parents and I stay in their homes, but I have no emotional ties to those homes. I kind of felt an anxiety and even sadness on the plane. I wanted to “go home” too but I had to deal with the fact that I wasn’t going “home”.
When we drove onto campus I experienced a strange sensation. I had butterflies in my tummy…like first kiss kind of butterflies. I was excited. I was suddenly filled with so much anticipation as well as nostalgia. I held my son’s hand and with joy and excitement started pointing out every single attraction, big and small, that had at one time meant so much to me. My dorm, my husband’s fraternity, the library where I studied (or socialized…) my favorite restaurants, the best ice cream shop in the world, the bookstore I loved, the grassy lawn, where I spent lazy spring days, the apartment where I did my first Jell-O shot (um mom, close your eyes here please!) and even the building that held the auditorium for my first class. As it got closer to game time, we were able to hook up with my college roommate and her husband. It was brief but it was wonderful. We hugged and it was like a trip back in time. It was familiar and it was love. It gave me goose bumps and a longing for times long passed. All too soon, it was time to head for the stadium. As we took our places in the stands, the band took the field and started with the fight song. I was brought to tears as I watched my son sing my college fight song. I know, crazy right? But my husband got it too! I was surrounded by 114,000 strangers who were my family. I was HOME!!!
A fan sitting near us was so excited as we won in the final seconds and he hugged my son and said (or shouted, depending on your perspective) “little dude this is the greatest day of your life and you don’t even know it”. My son giggled and hugged me and wiped away one of my tears. He looked at me and said “mom, I love this place! This is the greatest day ever”! It was one of the greatest days in my life for sure.
It has taken me more than twenty years to finally figure out and come to terms with the fact that “home” doesn’t have to be a physical place. Home is a feeling, a sensation, a simple scent, a memory… Home is as close as a fleeting thought or my heart. I no longer feel like I’m missing out on going to this mythical home place. I now feel like I’m going HOME every time I log in to Facebook and see pictures from all of my old peeps and read about their excursions from my home state. I feel like I’m home each time I hear the voice of one of my loved ones, friend and family alike. I also know I’m going home each and every day when I pull in to my driveway. It’s magical. I get it now… home, sweet home, is magical.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a few minutes and let myself take in the scents of this gorgeous fall day and let my mind travel home, even if for just a minute.
With so much love and gratitude,