Out of the 15 weeks that make up a summer, I packed and unpacked a suitcase 26 different times. To say that I know what living out of a suitcase feels like, would be a complete and total understatement.
Looking back, as this summer quickly comes to close, just like all the summer before have mimicked, those 26 different suitcases indicate an excessive amount of travel. This summer was different because it felt like I had two lives to live: one that consisted of the everyday life here in Grand Island, and the other based on things that came into play because of my first year at college.
And let me be the first to say that managing both sides wasn't always easy.
Ya see, I'm a homebody, and I always have been. I remember being at my first sleepover as a 7 year old, calling home in a panic to my mother to come and get me, and, at 19, sometimes I wish I could do the same.
Packing my suitcase for good for my first year of school, and then on and off again in the weeks that followed my summer at home has probably been one of the harder things to overcome, but it's also taught me a lot about home and what that really means.
Webster dictionary defines
home:(n)(adj)-as the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
However, I think I have my own definition.
Home isn't a place. It just can't be. Places are not promised, and never guaranteed. Anything can take away a home: wind, rain, a job transfer or move. If a home is only a physical space to you, then I think you're missing the point. I think that "home" is a much more complex and intangible thing.
It's a feeling. The one that you get when you hear your mom's laugh because your dad did something ridiculous in the kitchen again. It's smelling spaghetti when you walk in the door after a sports practice. It's jabbing your siblings in the side with your thumb because you know it annoys them. Home has nothing to do with the location of these events, it's the people that make them possible.
So to actually leave home requires a lot more than just leaving some drywall and shingles behind, because at the end of the day that's not what makes a place feel like home, and the great thing about a home consisting of its household members only means you have a mobile structure to follow you wherever you go: Your mom's laugh, your dad's humor, the family's cooking, and your siblings squeals are not going anywhere, regardless of where you end up in this big old world.
Home will always move with you, always be your support system, and only grow bigger as you come to know and love more people, because once your physical home changes, you only latch onto more people to give you that feeling of security and love that you feel with your family. It's not restricted to blood line, it's the people who love you where you're at. That new scary apartment doesn't seem so bad when you think about the people you're taking with you.
So pack your suitcase, and feel free to shed some tears, because in no way do I mean it's easy to leave. Those drywalls and shingles may not actually mean anything, but they were your sense of security for as long as you can remember, but they aren't the things that wiped away tears from your first loss in baseball, took your senior prom photos, and argued over who cheated playing Pitch. Those moments were the people.
And believe me, they aren't going anywhere.
So webster, here's my shot at what home really means:
Home:(n)(adj)- a place, or feeling, of a sense of security centered around the unconditional love, support, and faith from the people who've been there since the beginning.
Example sentence: Home is where the heart is, and that's never too far away.
To express, explain, and exclaim the lessons life continually throws at me, and my take on how to deal.