We live in a suburban area and rent our house. It's probably less than a thousand square feet for the four of us and our dog, so it's a tight fit. Two tweens and two adults in a small space can often lead to conflict! None of us are terrifically organized, so the house tends to stay in some level of disarray most of the time. The pictures need to be dusted, the mail constantly clutters the top of a bookshelf, and there's always someone's shoes or coat on the floor in the front room. Our house is probably thirty or forty years old. We need new EVERYTHING--my husband just finished school recently and our budget has been tight. We need a new couch, a new bed, new bath accessories.
I'm sure other people would walk into our home and think, "Thank GOD I don't live here!" But to me, it's home. It's comfy. I like the feeling I have when I come home. It's one of belonging. My things are here, my family is here. It's where I belong.
My son came home four days ago. Without tears, without overwhelming excitement. Instead, he has said several times, "I missed this place." I know that feeling. Every year, twice a year, I go visit my family fourteen hundred miles away. We stay for extended visits and I love every minute of it. I am very close to my parents and cherish every minute I get to spend with them. Their home overlooks the water, and is beautiful. I would describe it as elegant but lived-in. The kind of place where you are struck with the beauty of it but it's not so beautiful you're afraid to put your feet up and relax. I love those visits and I think they do too--we all get the opportunity to relax in a beautiful atmosphere with things we don't have at home. The big screen TV, the nice car, the lovely accents on the walls. But when I get home after every visit, there's something inside of me that sighs, like my son, and thinks, "I missed this place."
In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy had the opportunity to stay in the Emerald City, a land of beauty and pampering. Instead, she chose to return to Kansas, with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, with the old farmhouse and the mean old lady on the bicycle, stealing away dogs. Why? Well, as she said, "There's no place like home."
Now that my son is back our home is changing. I'm acutely aware of his presence and how it has been missing for the last several months. How wonderful it feels to see the familiar persistence to tasks he brings; to hear his explanations to his little sister about how to play a game or make something work; to give him a hug or even a smile. And I'm aware of how difficult it has been for him to be away from his home--his anchor--for the last several months. I know with his illness, it is quite likely he will return to a residential facility in the future. But for now, I'm so glad he's home. Because there's no place like it in the world.