I've been thinking about that term lately.
I realize a house is not the same as a home. A home is a place of relative comfort and connection, whatever that might encompass. Some houses are homes, and some houses are just houses.
Most of my siblings and I have been sorting through my parents' estate at the homestead in Radcliff. As we boxed up items, we sifted through memories. A nearly half-century old house can collect a lot moments. We were reminded of good times and bad. We found long-lost cherished toys and items, and we discovered items we never knew existed. We were reminded how much that creaky, weathered, too-small-for-a-family-of-eight house had transformed from a newly-constructed structure into a home.
These were the same doorframes we leaned against as we joked with one another, the same floors we tiptoed across when trying not to wake Dad. These were the doors on which we hung our posters and the windows we pushed wide open to catch summer breezes and hear an orchestra of crickets serenade the moon that hung in a cloudless night sky.
This was our home.
Recently I had trees cut back on my property here in Elizabethtown, away from the house that has become home for my sweetie Rebecca and me. We’ve been in this house since October 2008, and it has felt like home since the very first day. Sometimes still we can’t believe we found such a perfect place.
This week we've been decorating our home for Halloween. We are hosting an annual party on Saturday, and, because I’m maintaining an event page on Facebook, I've gone through photos from past years to post. The friends, fun and smiles in those photos are confirmation of how much our house is a home. Those are just a fraction of the innumerable memories this home holds. I know many more are to come.
I think back to a conversation I had with my siblings as we sorted through the collection of things that had amassed in that home. One of my siblings remarked that he or she — I’m not sure which sibling began the conversation — could not imagine anyone else living in the home. The others agreed, except me. And I wasn’t being contrary or insincere. I could picture another family living in our home.
In fact, I want to believe another family will live through their joys and sorrows in that house, that the very walls we bumped into as we chased each other down the hall, the very ceilings that threw back our laughter in echoes that reverberated in each room, will embrace many more decades filled with hopes, fears and dreams. I want that house to be more than a house to someone other than the family who spent nearly five decades in it.
I want our home to remain a home.