Home is where?

by Joanna on November 22, 2011

This weekend we’re headed to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving.  And we’ll say we’re going home.  When we leave on Sunday we’ll say we’re going back to DC. But the house I grew up in hasn’t been my home for 3+ years.

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Home is where the heart is, that’s the expression, right? Then there’s the song popular on the wedding video circuit “home is wherever I’m with you.” So where is home? Is it where you grew up? Where you go to bed at night? Where your family is? Your parents?

I’ve noticed I have friends that will say “I’m going to New York for the weekend” or “We’ll be in PA this weekend” and though they’re going to stay with their parents, they don’t say they’re going home.   I’ve noticed other friends say “I’ll be home…” or “I’m going home” if they’re going to visit their family.

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For me, the house I grew up in stopped being my home sometime during college.  Maybe it was because my parents got divorced and the house started to feel different without my mom living there.  Maybe it was because I lost my own room when I went away to school. Maybe it was because my pillows and blankets would get taken off my bed for siblings’ sleepovers and not put back so that when I came home my bed wasn’t really a relaxing, comforting, stable space. I’m sure it was a combination of most of these things but mostly I think the shift happened when I became more comfortable in my place than I was at home.

Since Mike and I grew up in the same town, our town has always been home to us.  When we went away to college, we’d go home for the weekend and then back to Lafayette.  I guess that language just kind of stuck when moved to DC.  We go home to PA and then back to DC.

When do you start using the word “home” to describe your residence?  Does it come when you buy a house or move to the suburbs? Have kids or a dog and you say “come on, we’re going home”? Does it come when you’re married or engaged and your significant other isn’t from the same place as you?

I’d love to know:

What do you think? Where do you call “home”?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Linda November 23, 2011 at 8:26 am

I believe for you, and anyone in particular, since you do not live where you grew up, that saying we are going home just means exactly that. I also think that since you and Mike both say you will be coming back to PA at some point plays a part in why you say, DC, rather than home.

I think where you finally settle for the long haul will become “your home”. Love you!!!

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2 Linda November 23, 2011 at 8:29 am

and………….lol………………..when I moved out, it took quite awhile for me to call my apt home rather than my childhood home. Funny, now that I own that home, I call it my dad’s house and I lived there for 4 years. I believe “home” is where you go to feel safe and can kick off your shoes, take off your bra (leave it on the floor next to the sofa) and cuddle under the comforter with a great big sigh. lol

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3 Allie Landsman November 23, 2011 at 11:59 am

Good topic and definitely one that I have thought a lot about! I think I officially considered “home” at the townhouse we bought in Maryland about 6 months into living in the townhouse and really making it a “home.” The part I have struggled with is what I tell people when I am traveling back to Langhorne for the weekend. It probably varies between saying “I’m going home” because I am used to saying it and “I’m going to PA.” Happy almost Birthday!

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