Typically a home is thought of as that place where one lives. When you do not have a place to live, you are often known as homeless. But what about those who must travel for their jobs? Or leave their home to go somewhere else to do their job? Do they have a home away from home? A major home (permanent) and a minor home?
What really makes a home?
Is it the place, the things, or the people? Some famous quotes about “home” include:
“Home is the nicest word there is.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder
“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”
― Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye
“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
― Maya Angelou, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes
“I don’t care if we have our house, or a cliff ledge, or a cardboard box. Home is wherever we all are, together,”
― James Patterson
“Where we love is home,
Home that the feet may leave,
but not our hearts.”
― Oliver Wendell Holmes
Where is my home?
If home is really where the heart is, then home is with the people. That means I have had multiple homes including the houses where our family lived as well as the farmstead where I grew up with my parents and brothers and sisters.
But there is also the “home” that includes my parents and their siblings. (Mom is from a family of ten while Dad had only one brother.) My godparents (Mom’s brother and wife) would also be significant members of that home. They are fortunate to have been married for over 67 years. The longevity in my mother’s family includes multiple aunts and uncles celebrating over 60+ years of marriage. What a model for those of us in the next generations!
When I think of this extended Ruth family, I have fond memories of visiting my grandma’s home when I was growing up. The smell of Sunday lunch. . . homemade everything . . . kolaches, noodles, and bread warm from the oven. The sounds of laughter and kids everywhere (after all there were 56 of us first cousins). I can still see the peony bushes that marked the western property border, the pear tree that edged the garden, and the garage near the north alley with untold treasures in the second story.
I was in graduate school when Grandma passed away. I had not yet had my own children nor begun to think about which family traditions to cling to tightly. But after many years our extended family still celebrates Christmas together. The Ruth cousins gather once a month for breakfast together. Family and this “home” remains important.
We shared stories about Grandma to celebrate her birth 117 years ago. A teacher, a mother of ten, grandmother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother. A remarkable woman who had time to listen to our stories and time to tell us stories. A generous heart. A life of love. A woman whose family gathered with and around her on a regular weekly basis. This was a home that I carry in my heart everywhere!
What homes do you remember? What defined your home?