What makes a home?
It isn’t the bricks, mortar, sticks, or stones that create the structure. In fact, home may not even be a structure of any permanence! Home is a lot more, and a lot less, than the structure itself.
So what is a home?
I’ve had to think about it a lot, especially during our recent camping trip. I heard myself telling GM at the furthest point during one of our little jaunts away from the camp that I was ready to “head home.”
He knew I didn’t mean for us to pack up and go back to Mississippi where we’d left our travel trailer, but rather that I was ready to head back to camp. That’s the key for us.
Home is wherever, as long as we’re together as a family. It doesn’t matter that our family, at least the portion in our home, consists of ourselves, two cats and two dogs. (Our cats didn’t go camping, although we have talked about taking them along on future trips.) Home is just wherever we have designated as our location for sleeping and cooking, I suppose. It’s where we’ve left our “stuff” that we have to have, even when its the pruned down “stuff” we take camping. (GM still thinks we take waaaaay too much STUFF camping too!)
So in a nutshell, home isn’t anything but a location where we all come together, and hopefully, feel relatively safe and are fairly familiar with our surroundings. Our campsite was one I have camped at numerous times, usually in a larger group, and I know the surrounding vicinity fairly well. I feel pretty safe there, despite the sounds of hunting dogs, coyotes, the night calls of herons, and even the occasional “what-the-hell-was-that” sounds don’t alarm me unduly.
When I’m with my family, relaxing out of the public eye, I’m home. It doesn’t matter if its a tent, the van, a tarp stretched over a rope between two trees, a travel trailer, a house, an apartment, or a grand palace…if I’m comfortable, feel safe, am able to relax, and am with my family, that is what makes it a home.
Returning to our “tin box” as GM likes to call the travel trailer, I can accept that as our home, even if we’re still in transition and the future is uncertain. It’s our home because we are together. Suggestions from friends and family that we get rid of our dogs and cats (yeah, they really SAID that!) and move into a low-income apartment are rather horrifying. How could that ever be a home without them?
That’s it. Home is where we come together. Being together in a tar paper covered cardboard box is preferable to the nicest home separated.
Home is truly where the heart is. Nothing else matters, not how much money one has (or doesn’t have) or how fancy or permanent the home is. It’s where we share love. That makes it home, that alone.