Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Going home for the first-last time.

A number of years ago my family and I moved leaving behind our home state of Arizona after taking employment in Utah. We were sad to leave the place we had called home for all of our lives but also excited about the new adventure.

Since moving away we have made an effort to visit home as often as possible, 2-3 times a year for the five plus years we have lived in Utah. We love "going home" - everything about walking it, the drive, seeing the changes, walking in the front door of the homes we were raised in the whole thing.

But things have started to change. Slowly Arizona has started to feel less and less like 'home.'

A little over two years ago my MIL passed away. It's taken almost this whole time to not be sad when walking in the home now only occupied by my FIL. Gratefully we have made new memories with him and walking in the door is once again "coming home." We now celebrate a life well lived and the sadness has been replaced with joy.

A short time ago my Dad began working for my brother's business. It has continued to grow and my parents are now in the process of selling my childhood home and moving to Utah full-time. The house where I grew up, where my kids grew up was going to be put up for sale.

In light of all this we decided to take the opportunity and spend Christmas in Arizona.

After spending a couple days with family we made the trek to my parents home, currently empty as my parents have all but completed their move. I was unprepared for what I would experience and feel. Instead of warm an inviting I found it empty and cold - an artifact of the selling process. I was expecting noise and to smell something cooking, but there was nothing. My kids didn't notice as I sullenly walked room to room saying goodbye to the place I had grown up and called home for so much of my life.

Suddenly it hit me; this wasn't "home" anymore. Then I invariably asked the perpetual esoteric question "what is home?"

We had been there for an hour or so when my sister and her family arrived. Kids ran outside to play while we talked about everything that is changing inside. Strangely I noticed the feeling of "home" didn't come even with a big part of my family there.

I realized - home isn't a place or people or even a combination of the two. Home is more.

I started reflecting - remembering stories from my youth and with my kids. Never in those stories do I remember specific places or when telling the stories do I use specific places. When talking about my oldest son throwing a peach pit across the room I don't say "the wall next to the back door off the family room" I just say "hit the wall."

Home is more. We love those stories because they remind us of fun things that happened and give us hope that more fun things will come. Home isn't a place or people, home is hope. Home is the place where we can hope for more experiences with the people we love. Home is a place of good things to come, of making and sharing new stories and remembering how we got to where we are.

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