Just before we lost my mom, I stumbled across a plaque when my daughter and I were shopping. It said, "Home is where your mom is." Blinking back tears, I rushed off to look at earrings or notebooks or some other something, wondering how many other patrons had done the same thing.
I can't argue with that sentiment. But it got me thinking about the concept of home. After spending a lot of time traveling back and forth between my adopted home in Pennsylvania (no matter how long I live here, I'll always be a Jersey girl) and my parents' condo, I don't quite agree with Billy Joel that home can be the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but I believe it can be lots of other things.
Home is where you grew up, whether the state or country, the town, the house or all of the above.
Home is the place you create for yourself when you take your first steps beyond that place and set up a space of your own.
Home is the place you create for your family, regardless of size, style, cost or location.
Home is the place where the grandchildren can play cards on the coffee table the kids weren't allowed to touch.
Home is hugs and laughter, even amid sadness, when everyone gathers together to celebrate, to mourn or to eat. Always to eat.
Home is the diner where you know all the waitresses, the Starbucks where you know all the baristas and any place where they smile and make you feel welcome when your day is not so bright.
Home is neighbors who become friends and colleagues who become family.
Home is where you can kick off your shoes, prop up your feet and hang out in your pajamas all day long if you want to.
Home is your own bed, your own stuff and your own space.
Home is warmth and affection, disagreements and discussions, forgiveness and reconciliation.
Home is the piece of your heart you give to someone who feels homeless and the piece of yourself that reminds you of where you came from.
Home is permanent and portable, constant and changeable, flawed and perfect.
Home is a place, a group of people, a state of mind.
Home exists within each of us. We take it wherever we go, revere it in our memories and create it when it is missing. More than a house or a cast of characters it's infinitely expandable so that although we may sometimes be lonely, we never have to be alone.
What is home for you?