The True Meaning Of {Home}

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My First Home

Chris and I recently took a drive through our childhood neighborhoods. The houses we lived in growing up were all still standing; sadly, there were many houses and businesses that didn’t survive the aftermath of Katrina. While most of our old houses were as we remembered them, my first house was hardly recognizable. Missing was the screened porch and huge tree in the front yard. I remembered sitting on the bench swing on our porch, watching the world go by, waving to the neighbors that passed on their way to the corner shops in our neighborhood. My family hung a rope swing from one of the tree branches, too.

I lived in this house from birth to age 8 and, back then, I was constantly surrounded by different people ~ my parents, siblings, grandmother, extended relatives, neighbors, and my siblings’ friends. We always seemed to have a full house, especially when my grandmother cooked; everyone was welcome to pull up a chair and help themselves to a feast. It was a time when “company” was welcome and encouraged; people didn’t think twice about dropping in unannounced.

Things have changed since then, in so many ways. Life isn’t so simple anymore. Our friends and extended relatives are scattered across the globe, so our social gatherings are limited to chats over coffee with friends. Our house is a full one but in a different sense; there are 2 kiddos, a grandbaby, and the grandbaby’s father living with Chris and me. We spend time together as a family and we’re {for the most part} happy.

I’ve lived in 11 different houses {in 2 states and even another country across the world} since then and very few of them ever felt like “home”. Chris, too, lived far away from New Orleans and returned a few years after I did; we now live in a house a mere 30 miles from where we grew up. We learned so much about life in other places and we both realized nothing compared to life back in New Orleans. During the process of getting to know each other again and comparing our experiences living elsewhere, we’ve come to agree on two things: 1. Neither of us felt a real a sense of belonging living anywhere else;  2. It took living away from home for a while to truly appreciate where we grew up.

“Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave and grow old wanting to get back to.” ~ John Ed Pearce

Until next time…

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