Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Home


Home |hōm|
noun
1 the place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household

The above may be the definition of home, but I think there’s a lot more to it. A few months ago, my wife and I started looking for a new home. What I realized, however, is that what we were actually looking for was a house, and we would turn it into a home.

After our offer was accepted but before we moved, we told our 2 1/2 year old daughter about the “new house.” We’d drive by occasionally; to see what it looked like at night, make sure a tree hadn’t landed on it during the latest storm, maybe catch a glimpse of the neighbors. I even made a test drive from work to see how long it took and get familiar with a new route. Whenever we drove by or talked about it, we referred to it at the “new house.” So that’s what our daughter started calling it. “The new house.”

As closing day got closer and closer, the emotions ran high in our household. The season finale of The Office aired during our last week in our townhouse. I never thought about it until the last episode’s credits were rolling, but The Office started when we moved into our townhouse, nine years later it came to an end as did the time in our townhouse. In a lot of ways, our lives paralleled the characters of Jim and Pam in the show. I fell in love with Erin (my wife), we bought a house, went through a few rough patches, had a baby, and now we live a pretty good life. But the place where all that life happened, was our home. Sure, it was just a little townhouse, but it was where we made all our memories; our first Christmas, birthdays, new jobs, preparing for a baby and finally bringing our daughter home.

Home.

I kept referring to our new house as our death house, meaning it’s where we would die. Mostly because I despise moving, but partially because I apparently don’t handle big changes very well. My wife did most of the packing which I’m forever grateful for, but when I was home packing, it was incredibly emotional. Often packing up the smallest little thing would turn Erin and I into a sobbing mess. Whether it was our daughter’s baby clothes or some old paint. Packing it all up and lugging it out to the garage meant there wouldn’t be anymore memories made in that place. 

When the moving truck finally pulled up, we both lost it. That was it. Everything was going to the new house over those following four hours. Like a band aid. Before the movers knocked on the front door, we wiped the tears from our eyes, then tried to hold it together while they did the heavy lifting. (Side note: hire movers, keep your friends.) After they unloaded all our stuff and drove out of our new neighborhood, we looked at each other with a look similar to when we brought our daughter home from the hospital, “Now what?” We started the process of trying to find a place for everything, but it wasn’t home. All our stuff was in it, but when I went back to our townhouse, even though it only had a random lamp and a few leftover boxes, that was home. I felt more at home in our empty townhouse than I did at the place that held all our belongings.

For a while it felt a lot like going to a friends cabin. We didn’t take a lot of showers and we didn’t know where every light switch was like we would at home. It was safe and secure like a home should be, but not quite comfortable.

Even after a month and a half in our new house, while my daughter and I were out running errands, I said, “We’re going to go home and have dinner.” She said, “Not home daddy, the new house.” She’s right, it’s still not quite home...but it’s getting there. I’m sure by the time she learns how to ride a bike, breaks her arm on the tire swing, and graduates from high school, it’ll feel like home.

And if we move after that, we’re going to need professional help. Like I said, death house.