I can picture it now — the home where you were raised from the time your parents brought you home from the hospital, little pencil marks on door frames that measured your growth over the years. Best friends that live across the street that have been with you from preschool until high school graduation.
After 18 years you experience that bittersweet moment packing up the belongings in your childhood bedroom before you go to college. Then you return to that same home over the years and stay in the same room you slept in as a little kid.
There’s a montage in your head of scenes from the years in that house; playing basketball with dad in the driveway, watching movies with siblings in the front room or staying up late talking to your mom in the kitchen.
I never had that. I mean, I had all of those experiences — just not in the same place.
I grew up moving and living in different states all across the country. In total, my family moved six times before I graduated high school; this means I attended three elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools. This is comparatively few to some, but I never lived in a home longer than five years.
(I can tell some of you are wondering what my parents do for work — we are, surprisingly, not in the military).
I used to watch movies about parents selling the “family home” and children were outraged or heartbroken and I just never really got it. How could you be so attached to a house?
Now, that’s not to say that moving was always easy or fun for me — I was plenty upset when my parents informed me at age 15 that we were moving … again. I was wholeheartedly convinced that I would never love anywhere as much as I loved where we lived at the time; moving was going to ruin my life (or so I thought).
I insisted on reminding my parents of that cruel injustice daily — hell hath no fury like an angry teenager.
After I got over the move, (and myself) I begrudgingly started to enjoy things about the new place we lived. I had experiences I never would have had if we had stayed behind, and I met some of my closest friends.
However, moving didn’t end there; I came to Utah for college, served a mission in Spain and a few years after returning from Spain, got married and moved again.
Every single time I had to uproot my life and go somewhere new, I was privileged with meeting some of the most amazing people and having experiences I will forever be grateful for.
Was it easy? No.
Was it worth it? Yes, always.
Leaving behind the familiar is undoubtedly difficult and no matter how often you do it, it’s still uncomfortable and scary and new.
I still remember that sick feeling in my stomach when I stepped into my new high school on the first day of sophomore year. I recognized almost nobody and my naturally shy personality certainly didn’t help. I remember trying to convince myself to just ask somebody to sit with them at lunch, but I didn’t have the nerve to do it.
I went home that day, thought about my old friends and old school and cried.
With time things got better, as they usually do. However, I started to learn that the way I defined “home” began to change.
For me, home is not a structure or the things that fill it. It’s not the paths I walk or the clothes I wear or the classrooms I sit in. It’s not the bed I always sleep in or my favorite chair in the family room.
Home is a hug from my mom after not seeing her for 18 months. It’s a long drive with my dad while talking about work and school and life. It’s planning parties for silly reasons with my sister. It’s a little cat that comes to curl up on your lap after a long day.
It’s an embrace and reassurance from my husband when I’m overwhelmed and not sure I’m capable of doing all the things I need to do.
It’s a quiet prayer of gratitude when I think about the blessings in my life.
For these reasons, I am wholeheartedly convinced that home is anywhere and everywhere that love exists.
– Megan Zaugg