When Easter rolled around a few weeks ago, we got together with my family at my sister's house.
She still lives in the house I grew up in.
Until my Mama died a couple years ago, she still lived there, too.
When I lived there it was a yellow house. I've always loved yellow houses. Now it's white and it has been for many years, but in my mind and my memory it will always be yellow.
Although that yellow house wasn't the only house I lived in as a child, it's the one I lived in the longest, and it's the one I have always considered to be "home."
When I went away to college, I couldn't wait for the weekends so I could go home.
When I was a young newlywed our visits were infrequent, but still, I missed home.
As I grew up and away and up some more, R and I lived in a whole series of apartments and rental houses, both together and separately, then finally together again, but I still missed home.
The house kept changing over the years. An addition here, a bit of remodeling there, and always new white paint to cover a wall or two. Always white. Always. But no matter what changed, it still felt like home.
Whenever I walked in the door of this house that I grew up in, that I started becoming myself in, I always felt comfortable. I always felt like I belonged. I always felt, well, at home.
When R and I finally got all our shit together (mostly) and decided it was time to grow up and have a house of our own, it was a scary prospect. A mortgage and repairs and commitment to this THING for 30 or so of the best years of our lives was incredibly unnerving. But like the good responsible grown-ups we considered ourselves to be, we went with it. And we built ourselves a house. But I still missed home.
At first, everything in our new house was so shiny and new and clean and we were both kind of afraid that we would mess something up, just by LIVING in it.
And it didn't really feel like HOME.
The shift was so slow, so gradual, that I didn't even recognize it was happening.
But at some point over the past ten or so years, home moved.
It shifted from that once yellow now white house that I grew up in to the always yellow house that I live in now.
Maybe it started feeling more like home the first time I made a scratch on my pretty new hardwood floors, or maybe it started to feel more like home when I drove home completely on auto-pilot after the 100th or 1000th late shift I worked, only to finally rouse myself up as I pulled into the garage, wondering where the hell the drive went.
Maybe it started to feel more like home after the boys were born, and their STUFF and presence seemed to take up every nook, cranny and surface in the entire house. Or maybe it started to feel like home after I quit working to be a stay at home Mama, and I started spending nearly every waking hour here.
Some people say that home is wherever you lay your head, or home is wherever your family is, but for me, home is the place that I can be myself.
It's the place where I can lay around in my yoga pants all day, eating leftover Easter candy and occasionally saying whatever wildly inappropriate thought that crosses my mind. It's the place I can laugh wildly at an amusing video without feeling uncomfortable that my laugh sounds for all the world like a braying donkey, and it's the place I can sob quietly and undisturbed in a corner when I finish a book that hits me just so.
It's the place I can be my happiest, and my saddest, and my craziest, and my loneliest. It's the place that I have my highest highs and my lowest lows, and it's the place where I can be myself, without reservation or fear.
It's my home.
And I love it here.