Home Is Where You Feel Like You Belong

Home Is Where You Feel Like You Belong

It's not just a house, but the people around you.

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HOME:

Each individual would define home in their own way. Home is where you grew up, where your mom is, where your kids are, where you take your boots off, or maybe home is the mortgage payment paid each month. Me, I miss every piece of my home.

My momma and daddy will always be a piece of home to me. They still live in the same house with the same trees I grew up with. The pine tree I climbed as a kid and the tree you can watch growing in the background of all of my first day of school pics. That yard was where we had bonfires, shot off fireworks, raced our four-wheelers, and where I had my graduation party.

But...I've come to realize home is just a little bit more than that. Growing up in a small town, the whole community was my home. I was blessed with so many great families that welcomed me any time, any day. When you grow up with the same kids since preschool or elementary you get close to them. Those friends, my best friends were always my home.

No matter the time of day I could walk into my friends' houses. Not knock and wait for an answer, but just walk in take my shoes off and sit on the couch. My best friends I called sis, babe, or hun. I never left without hugs and "love you's" to every member of the family. We went to town just for Sonic drinks, El Toro trips or to sit at Hyvee Gas with all the guys in their trucks.

Now though I don't even talk to most of my best friends. Maybe, the occasional Facebook comment, text message, or snapchat but our relationship just isn't the same. We didn't have a fight or even a disagreement, I just moved away and we both moved on I guess.

The one place I call home isn't the same. It's still the same little town with the same hangout spots but when I pull up I feel like a stranger. An outsider. When I'm in Chillicothe I miss Springfield, and when I'm in Springfield I miss Chillicothe. It's a never-ending cycle that I pray one day I find peace in.

I grew up a lot in the last two years away from home and I grew into a different person than my friends there know. But I hope that my friends from high school, that I spent some of my best years with, will know I never quit caring about them. I love them as much as I did then and even though I can't be there physically every day like I use to be that I truly wish I could be.

I want to be there for them when they get married, have kids, move to a new house, get their dream job and every bit of their life in between. I'm still here, rooting for them and praying for them. I constantly see their social media, every picture I like is a hug and every post I comment on is a hand reached out.

I don't know where my future is going to take me, I may come back to Chillicothe or move even further away, but the true friends the ones from high school as well as the ones I've met in Springfield will always be my home. My family will always be a piece of my home. And that's one of the biggest lessons I've learned transitioning to "adulthood" is that home isn't just a place but it's the people you love. Home is where you feel the warmth of friendship, love, and belonging.

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The Family I Didn't Know I Needed

To so many, our in-laws and spouse's family can be so annoying and frustrating, but to me they are the biggest blessing.

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I've known my wife for a very long time (since we were a little under 2 years old), and I've known her family for just as long, although not quite that well. I knew of them would be more accurate.

When we started seriously dating (not like middle school dating where you get dropped off at a theater and you're scared to death), I was introduced to her entire family. And it's big.

Look, I come from a small white family, because almost all of my grandparents passed before I arrived. I've never been used to massive families, crowded Christmas', or stuff Thanksgivings and reunions. I've never known really what it was like to be showered with love and gifts and opinions. I also never had to figure out what cousin or aunt or uncle everyone else was talking about.

That is not to say that I wasn't loved or blessed growing up. My family (and loved ones from all around the country) took care of me and loved on me so much, and for them I am forever grateful. I also had my church family (my Dad is a Pastor) that literally raised and supported me, and were always there. So please, do not think I am complaining.

I guess what I'm saying is that I just wasn't ready for the acceptance and love that was going to be shown to me from my wife's massive family. It caught me off-guard.

All you hear about is how hard it is to get along with another family and dynamic, but mine couldn't have been more simple and easy. Sure, we really standout. The average height for her immediate family is like 5'6 or so, and I'm 6'4, so you can always tell I'm the married-in one.

But, if I think about it, if I raised and loved on my wife like they did, I'm not sure I would be so okay with another guy jut waltzing into the picture. If I have a daughter (and I really do), it might be hard to invite another BOY into the family. So, I completely understand where they might have had difficulty. But I especially appreciate the love they chose to show me instead.

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