It’s good to be home.
It’s good to sleep in my bed and be hugged by my parents and eat at my favorite restaurants.
It’s good to see old friends and pick up where we left off and talk for hours about all the adventures we’ve been on in the last four months.
But at the same time, home feels a little bit less like home. When you’ve been living on your own for months without your mom's cooking or your dad’s goodnight kiss, you start to get used to that. You’ve discovered new favorite restaurants and now you’re missing other people from your other “home”.
You miss those people because they get it. They understand all the things that you love, and they know all the things that you struggled with. They know about the night all you wanted to do was sleep in your bed at home, and they can perfectly describe the night where it finally clicked and you felt like these were the people you belonged with.
You want to be with those people, but you’re with these people. But these people get it, too. They remember your love for coffee and they still know exactly where you live and they’re excited to see your parents and drive your streets with you.
It’s this weird feeling. It mixes everything you’ve learned with everything you knew. It’s telling stories about people they’ve never met to people who want to hear all about your experiences and your friends and your memories.
Honestly, coming home is exhausting. Even though it feels like you’re home forever, there still aren’t enough days to spend adequate time with all of the people you love. It’s fitting in as many coffee dates and dinner plans and watching your brother’s basketball games and spending time with your parents after they get home from work. All this while still talking to your new people and making sure that those friendships stay solid so that you have something to come back to in a few weeks.
It’s overwhelming, all these people. But it is also so, so refreshing. You don’t realize how much you missed driving around with your best friend until you’re driving around listening to your old favorite songs and showing each other new ones. You didn’t realize how much you miss laughing with your whole group of high school people until one night you end up sitting on someone’s kitchen floor, retelling story after story. Your dad’s hug feels different because you haven’t felt it in months. It’s a different kind of laughter, and it fills your heart in a different way. Whether you had the best or the worst semester, you can’t hide that it feels good to be home, even if the word home is now a confusing term that throws together a bunch of people who just love you a lot, both here where your family lives as well as back at school.
I always found the phrase “home is where the heart is” to be annoying. I always thought of home as a permanent place. I live here. I lived there. So obviously, home is where my heart is. But living far from home has stretched my heart across different states and streets and houses and campuses. Spending weeks in the room that you grew up in after months of sleeping in a lofted bed with a roommate you only recently met shatters that image. Home is not a place. Home is just simply setting up shop with some people who love you, who you love, who annoy you, and who you’re excited to come back to.
So when I’m at school, that is home, even though I am excited to come back here. And when I am here, my real “home” I guess, I am happy to be home and excited to fly back home.
College is teaching me all sorts of lessons about home and people and myself and on and on and on. But for now, it is good to be home, as ready as I am to go home. It’s a foggy description of being present where I am, but always knowing there is somewhere else I love to be. My home is growing larger and larger, my heart is stretching far, and I’m thankful to be happy here as well as excited to go back.