I tried out every different cliche and song lyric that I could think of for this post. Home is where the heart is. Home is wherever I'm with you. While they're all good and true in their own right, they didn't quite fit. I'm about to get really good and honest and superficial here today.
I missed my stuff.
Now, don't get me wrong, I actually did like living with less while we were on the boat. It was sort of refreshing and surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. But when we got back onto land and I slipped my feet back into my leather boots, when I unpacked my dishes and placed them on a shelf in a cabinet, when I unrolled my beloved cowhide rug onto the hardwood floor… it felt good.
I don't think it's easy finding a place that feels like home anymore. Maybe that's just me. Growing up, home was where my parents were there to care for me and where my always messy room was my sanctuary. Of course it felt like home, it was also the only one I had ever known. But when my parents decided to make the move from Maryland to Virginia, it was surprisingly easy to leave. Of course, it was hard to leave friends and family behind, but the minute we moved out, it no longer felt like home.
Trying to make Virginia home took a little bit of time, as anyone who's ever moved will tell you. All of our familiar stuff was there, and our family became closer than ever as we relied on each other more, so it did feel like home, in a way. But we also had moved to The South, and immersed ourselves in the very conservative Bible-belt, and that has still never fit quite right.
After getting married and moving into a house in my husband's hometown in the mountains, I really struggled with feeling at home. And I had only moved an hour away. We tried our best to make a house into a home out of Riley's handiwork and generous gifts of hand-me down furniture, but that never quite fit either. Maybe because it was a small, very Southern community where everyone knew each other, and was most likely related. Maybe because I didn't want it to fit. Maybe because I knew the house was only temporary. At the same time, going back to visit my parent's house didn't feel like home either. But I did know, at least, that wherever Riley was was where I wanted my home to be.
So, if I couldn't find home in Maryland or Virginia, could I find it on a boat? I guess in a way, I did. We generally found ourselves in a new place every few days, so home couldn't really be a physical location. But somehow I found a kind of home in the space of a 30 foot boat, with not much more than a few tupperware boxes of clothes and a toothbrush, my husband and my dog. For a brief period of time, we made it feel like home. But eventually, we got restless. Moving around all the time can really wear a person down. We were ready to have a real home, whatever that means.
After our trip, my parents were gracious enough to let us crash at their house for about a week. Everyone asked us if we were glad to be home. Honestly? I felt more displaced than I had on a boat. I had stuff in boxes in a guest room at my parent's and stuff in boxes in storage and I had just left the only place that had sort of felt like home for the last five months, I couldn't come up with an answer to that question until I actually did feel home again.
We were fortunate to find an apartment fairly quickly, and moving our stuff into it felt pretty darn good. Does that mean home is where my stuff is? Home is not in Maryland, and it's not at my parent's house in Virginia. It's no longer a house in the mountains and it's not on a 30 foot boat. But I am finally fulfilling a dream of living in a downtown apartment, so can I make this small space in the city feel like home for the next year? I don't know yet, but I do know that I find a sense of peace in having a closet to hang my clothes in and a couch on which to watch tv. My view of the city makes me happy, and so does my little brick wall and the creaky hardwood floor under my feet.
Being here feels good. And it feels right. For now. Does it feel like home? Ask me again in another few months.