July 13, 2011

Home.

As we prepare to PCS (from Ft. Leonard Wood to Ft. Lewis) in a matter of two short weeks, I find myself once again reflecting on the idea of Home. Part of me really loves the chance we have with the Army to experience so many different parts of America as we move from duty station to duty station. Then there is the romantic and sentimental and homesick side of me who longs for a single house that our children will look back on fondly as Home.

Oh, that idea of Home...my parents have lived in their current, two-story, red brick, track house for over fifteen years. It is also where I spent my adolescent years from 7th grade on, and like I've talked about before, I have many many happy memories spent at home there with my family. But, if you ask any of my siblings or either of my parents about Home, they will fondly tell you about a much different house. We will get teary-eyed as we laugh and recant stories of an eighty year old farm house my parents rented for less than $400 a month. We will talk about surviving Texas summers with nothing but a single window unit. We will talk about the attic room that my sister and I shared. We will talk about old pick up truck beds full of cotton seed we would play in. We will talk of trapping a rat in the bathroom. We will tell stories of running out of propane for our heaters and sleeping all huddled together in the kitchen some winter nights. We will talk of our gravel driveway and cutting our own Christmas tree. We will talk of Gilbert, our old farmer of a landlord. There will be stories full of rubber boots, cows, linoleum flooring, hay bales, and that old farm house. We will laugh about the single, tiny bathroom all six of us shared for those four years. Yes, it was only four years of my life, so how did that old house work its way into my soul so deeply?

I can not quite describe it, but you know the feeling I'm talking about. Maybe you get it when you visit your grandparents' home or drive through an historical neighborhood. That feeling of beauty, permanence, history, warmth, safety, and yes, Home. It can be found in most buildings that were built before the Second World War because some how the generations and the buildings who came after, lost that connection with America's past and with the surrounding nature we all crave. We became obsessed with bigger, "better," and faster which led to whole suburbs full of massive track houses that no one really cares about. Just look at this 100 year old farmhouse and you'll know what I mean.

picture found here.

We have been searching the internet for rental properties in the Ft. Lewis area for months now just to see what's out there, and again I find myself drawn to anything built before 1940 with a wide front porch, thick base boards, and quaint little nooks. We may not find one close enough to base, big enough for our family, or at the right price, but I am saying a selfish little prayer that we do.

As an Army wife, I know even if we do find that perfect, old Home, it will only be ours for a short time before we are packed up and moved across the country again. Still while we have chosen this nomad lifestyle, I hope throughout the years we can look back on many of the houses we live in and think, yes, that was a Home. I think it is important for children to feel safe and grounded while growing up, so I will continue to thoughtfully and prayerfully search for that perfect Home no matter where the Army moves us. I believe it is that important.

And, at the end of the day, I must remind myself that ultimately (while the Army may say home is where they send you) it is the people in the house that make it a home. My family that is my heart will fill whatever space we live to the brim with happiness and love.

Did you move a lot as a child? Do you move a lot as an adult? What are some things you do to help your children feel at home no matter where you are living? What house do you look back on with the most fondness from your childhood?

Still feeling sentimental? Go read Chapter 4:

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