When is a home your home?
When I graduated high school, I couldn’t wait to leave my parent’s home. Leaving Mom and Dad’s nest for the University of Akron and my own little nest seemed like the best idea since Atari.
I had an overwhelming need to get out of the house and out from under all of their rules and restrictions. I was tired of hearing about my lengthy showers and leaving my empty milk glass in the sink.
Zoom! Off I ran to the University where I lived in a residence hall and then the sorority house and then an apartment. During that time, I would still go home to do laundry, mooch money and food - not quite yet on my own. When I left Ohio for graduate school in Iowa , I was much closer to a home of my own. I lived in an apartment off campus, alone. All the bills were mine; the second hand furniture was mine. Not quite my own home, but I was getting closer.
More years go by and I snag my first job in yet another state. I wasn’t thrilled with my apartment, but I was starting to call it home. My mom would grimace when I would visit and say it was time to go home after a visit. My home.
Still more time passes and I move to Indiana and eventually buy my first house. My parents, now accepting the fact that I will not be returning, turn my room into a TV room. I was upset when I returned to visit for the holidays to discover that my room was no longer a shrine. “But honey, you can sleep on the bed in the spare room,” my mom cheerfully told me. I think I may have growled.
Then one day, I can't even pinpoint what happened or when it was, I started to call Cleveland home again. As I packed up my car for a trip to see my folks, I told people I was going home. But it wasn't my house, it was my parent's. It was Ohio.
I didn't know what I had until I left it behind.