Growing up, I learned that the words “home” and “house” were synonymous. While the words are similar, I believe that “home” has a more personal, positive connotation. As I grew older, I began to experiment with out-of-the-box concepts and realized that home is not just a location, but rather the people I love and hold near and dear to my heart.
I was only 2 when I had my first sleepover, and I stayed the night at my cousin’s house, who was my age and my best friend. After that first sleepover (and the countless number of times I have been there since), my mom said that every time she drove me there I would tell her I was “going home.” As a little girl, without any comprehension of relative location or where exactly I was, I knew that home was wherever I could be myself. Home was with my cousin, home was sleeping in my aunt’s bed while watching “Dragon Tales” and falling asleep, home was eating macaroni and cheese for dinner while discussing growing up and forming a band so we could become famous together.
Home was not just the house I lived in, but also the experiences and people that shaped me to become the person I am today. Home, however, will always be with my immediate family. Whether my parents stay in my childhood house or not, home is with them. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with a mother and father who have stayed together through all of their trials and tribulations, and returning to parents that love each other and all three of their kids despite any hardships is a defining characteristic of my home. It is where I can find myself sitting around a quaint dining table with my mom’s homemade fried chicken and a warm bowl of mashed potatoes, ready to be enjoyed by the whole family. Home is where my older brother acts like I am the reason his world suddenly flipped upside down, and my younger brother pretends he is much cooler than I am. Most importantly, it is where I can forever rely on endless love and happiness and people that I know I can always trust.
Home is not just a location, it is also the people I surround myself with. I learned that my home will grow with me. Friends will come and go, as will my family when their lives take its own shape. I am a firm believer that home is not just the building I live in. Home is my safe spaces, my family, my friends, my experiences, and memories. It is ever changing and reliable, something I know I can return to for happiness and comfort, home is abstract. This I believe.