What It Means to Be Home
I owe my home an apology. I have been taking her for granted. Though she never fails to be there for me, I have not been there for her. Out of the past thirty days, I have spent just five nights at home. I have been traveling for vacation, for work, and to help an adult child move, touching down briefly between trips to unpack and pack again.
Being away for most of a month, living like a nomad, made me realize how very much I love being home.
Maybe I’m just getting mushy with age, but as I returned this week from what I hope is my last trip for a while, I actually — and this is a touch embarrassing — felt overcome as I did routine tasks. I welled up a little when drying dishes, putting food in the dogs’ bowls, getting the mail, making my bed. This cascade of feelings reminded me just how much these small rituals, these moments of ordinary living, mean.
Being in one unfamiliar place after another made me appreciate anew the many small ways I take my home, my patterns, the habits that form my life, for granted. So today, I am paying homage to not just my home, but to all homes. To your home.
As many of you make plans to get away this summer for vacation and a surely welcome change of pace, which I strongly encourage, I urge you to take inventory of what home means to you. Make a list. Maybe you, like me, will come to better appreciate just how much home (though she may be boring and predictable and need constant attention) matters.
Here are 21 reasons I love being home:
1. I like drying the dishes and putting them away because I know where they go.
2. I like putting food and fresh water in the dogs’ bowls, because caring for them feeds my soul.
3. I like watering my plants, and seeing their leaves perk up, because it means I make a difference.
4. I like making the bed and turning it down; it feels like putting a pair of bookends or parentheses around the day.
5. I like sleeping in my own familiar bed because I wake up and never wonder where I am.
6. I like being in control of my thermostat.
7. I like knowing that my favorite foods are in the pantry or refrigerator, available when I want.
8. I like taking a shower in my shower, because I know how it works, and that my favorite shampoo and triple-milled soap will be there.
9. I like knowing where everything is, and that it is all within reach, because it makes me feel like the master of my domain.
10. I like the familiar view out my windows knowing no one else in the world has the same view.
11. I like smelling the warm laundry and pressing it with my hands as I fold it, because it gives me a sense of accomplishment.
12. I like getting the morning newspaper (Yes, I still get a paper paper.) every day. I find this reliable, tangible connection to the world somehow comforting.
13. I like making coffee my way, strong but not too strong, measuring the water and counting the scoops, the morning aroma that follows, the pleasure of that first sip.
14. I like standing in my closet and having my whole wardrobe available, and not having to make do with whatever I packed.
15. I like putting outgoing mail in my mailbox, and bringing in the mail that’s delivered, because, though imperfect, the U.S. Postal Service is one of life’s wonders.
16. I like being around my art and decorative objects because they stir memories and reflect my life.
17. I like going into the garage and getting into my car and driving where I want to go, and not having to rely on a plane, subway, bus, train, or Uber, marvelous as they are.
18. I like walking my dogs, seeing their enthusiasm when I get their leashes, because their joy is so simple.
19. I like bringing in the trash cans and running into my neighbor and seeing what flowers are blooming in her yard.
20. I like cooking, whether whisking an egg, chopping a tomato, or adding spice to a simmering sauce, because I like to know what is in my food.
21. I like sitting on the covered patio at the end of the day having a glass of wine with my husband, talking about everything as the yard lights come on, because it feels right. It feels like where we belong.
It’s an ordinary life, which is what makes it extraordinary. Now go, enjoy your summer holiday, but don’t forget where you came from.
CAPTION: Simple pleasures — Being away from home makes us appreciate the many ways we take our homes for granted, the author found. Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.