[Blogger’s Note: You might like to read yesterday’s post “Who Am I” before you begin my series, Home Sweet Home. The earlier post explains why I chose to write this series.]
In the last few months, my dreams have been consumed with either homes in which I have previously lived or my childhood home.There’s an old saying, “Home is where the heart is.” I’ve been wrestling with the concept of “home” lately.
In the span of a week’s time, I probably dream about home three or four times, and those are the dreams I remember. The perplexing part about this is I am home.
Here’s how Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, defines home: “A home is a place of refuge, comfort. It is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and be able to store personal property…As an alternative to the definition of “home” as a physical locale, home may be perceived to have no physical definition — instead, home may relate to a mental or emotional state of refuge or comfort. There are certain cultures in which members lack permanent homes, such as with nomadic people.”
You could hardly call my family nomadic, but we did endure a few years of wandering to different parts of our country due to my husband’s job relocations. Over a decade ago though, we moved back to my hometown area. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Ed Pearce once wrote, “Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.” That sums it up quite nicely for me.
After our marriage, my husband and I resided in a southwestern state where he was stationed in the military. Moving away from home back then was an exciting adventure. Newlyweds striking out on our own, we attached a small U-Haul trailer to hubby’s car and filled it with our pristine wedding gifts and a few other belongings to drive half-way across the country.
We located a furnished (didn’t worry about such things as bed bugs!) one-bedroom apartment. We were blessed to have family (my oldest sister’s family) live about two hours away from us, but it still wasn’t home.
The broad expanse of never-ending plains with few trees, fewer hills, scrub brush, and cactus proved foreign to us. The heat and unrelenting sun driving up temperatures up to triple digits for much of the summer, dust storms and threats of tornadoes, sightings of armadillos, scorpions, and tarantulas didn’t comply with my view of home either, but we were newlyweds living out a new escapade.
We placed our names on the military post housing list and waited for a unit to become available. By that time we had acquired some furniture, were settled into our jobs, and felt prepared for our first house, even though it wasn’t our house.
We excitedly moved into officer’s quarters on post where we had plenty of space for the two of us and our cat. Hubby gained a small yard to mow, his first experience at lawn maintenance since he grew up in a city row house without a blade of grass in his “yard.” The house, of course, belonged to Uncle Sam, so it didn’t really feel like home. Home remained that place from where I came.
After a few years, hubby received orders for an unaccompanied tour to a foreign country and shortly afterwards, we discovered we were going to be parents for the first time. The thought of bringing our first child into the world alone made me pine for home all the more. So I moved back with my parents while hubby flew to the other side of the world for an entire year. Home became more entrenched in my heart since that’s where our first child, oldest daughter, was born.
Back to the southwest we migrated again when hubby returned from his tour of duty. We lodged in temporary housing until a house on post became available for us. This time, we only lived there for one year.
And even though we celebrated our daughter’s first birthday and Christmas reunited as a family there and we were blessed with great friends, neighbors, and the community camaraderie military life provides, I still couldn’t call it home.
Another journey awaited our little family – hubby, oldest daughter, and me – as we set out for a new home and left military life behind.
[This post is the first in a four-part series. Please check back tomorrow for the next installment.]