The Story Of A Second Home

The Story Of A Second Home

A home is different for everybody, and this is one of mine.


All the romance novels these days try to convince their audience that home can't possibly be defined as a place, but as a person. That it's somehow wrong to describe the home as a house or an environment that gives you an inner comfort that can't be completely fulfilled with anything else. Even though the home representation cliche can appeal to every intrigued teenage girl, including myself, I think a home can be spoken from a group of people that make you feel unconditional love, an entire community, or it can just be a simple two-story house.

At the peak of Cobb Mountain, in California, there lies an old fifteen hundred square foot cabin. It first belonged to my great grandfather and has been passed down through the family for generations. Four wooden walls, a roof on top, vintage furniture, a fireplace, a deck out back, with a forest and mountains surrounding its entirety, that's all this house is. But to my family and me, it means so much more.

There's a memory overload when it comes to this small cabin built on the tallest ridge of the Mayacamas Mountains. I remember climbing tree trunks and collecting obsidian rocks with my brother, Matthew, and all of our cousins. Competing for the last piece of desert, we would all try to accomplish the ultimate height of the trees or compiling the most rocks. I always performed well with the gathering rubble, but being the strongest, Matt took us down with tree climbing.

In this small community, there were always fun things to do on the weekends like bingo, arcade games, and karaoke. My aunt and uncles would get overly competitive with bingo and somehow find a way to argue with the instructor, Bingo Bob. Matthew and my cousins, Lauren and Jack, would be battling it out on the old race car games. Then at the end, my cousin Ashley and I would close out the night with our famous karaoke song, 1985 by Bowling For Soup. Knowing most of the words, the performance got a standing ovation from the whole audience every time. Even if there were only thirty people in the place, including our whole family, it never failed to put a smile on both of our faces.

On September 12, 2015, I remember coming home from school and my mom telling me the news of a wildfire occurring in Lake County, California. Thinking about it to this day, I can still feel my heart sinking deep into my stomach. Seeing the pictures of my favorite restaurants and all the homes surrounded by flames made my throat twist in knots. I couldn't believe it was happening, that a place with so many cherished memories could just be completely destroyed. But then hearing the incredibly fortunate news from my grandpa that the cabin was safe and sound, it sprang a sigh of relief through my body. At least the house was safe - that's all that matters - I thought to myself.

Going back to California after that was difficult for so many reasons, but overall it made me come to a realization. The recognition of how much this one place has impacted me as a human being. The incredible people I've met, the memories I've shared with my amazing family, and the places in this one small town have shaped me into the person that I am today. Despite the fact that I can't physically visit most of the places anymore, I still have them in my heart. And that's truly what I call home. The family that I love unconditionally, a community that has taught me what it really feels like to be a part of something special, and lastly a cramped, elderly house that still stands to this day and carries so many memories.

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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.


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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