“Home is where the heart is.”
“Home is where I am with you.”
The phrases and song lyrics go on and on. But at some point in our lives, we all call a place “home” long enough that it’s hard to imagine anywhere else being home – no matter who’s with us or where we’re going.
For me, this is Indiana.
Just over a year ago I moved away from Indiana for the first time in my life, Texas bound. It was tough, sure. But I had my wife-to-be and unborn son both at my side. In short – I had some wonderful traveling partners and motivations to help me call a new place “home” for the first time.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and I found myself returning to Indiana for the first time since our move a year ago. To say the sensations I felt upon returning were unexpected or strange would be an understatement. I’m going to plagiarize my wife and steal her line, “When we met, it felt like we picked up in the middle of a conversation we had started years before.” Returning to Indiana felt largely the same. It was like I hadn’t missed a beat.
Adorable little Nashville felt the same. Bloomington was bigger, but still the same as we left it. And most of all, my family was still there, waiting for us to arrive with our adorable little boy. It was just perfect.
While we initially planned on spending numerous days in Bloomington, visiting our old haunts and eating our favorite foods, we wound up spending more time in Nashville – the town I grew up in. Getting to play tourist for several days and wander from shop to shop helped me see Nashville with new eyes. A town I once dubbed “boring” or “touristy” was now really fun and charming. (It’s still touristy. Sorry, Nashville, you can’t shake that title.)
And we still made our way to Bloomington for a few solid trips of eating, visiting with old (once-in-a-lifetime) friends, and more eating. Did I mention the eating?
But then in what felt like a week, we found ourselves at the end of our two-week stay; it was time to head back to our home in Texas. Even before we left to visit Indiana I found myself dreading, fearing this moment. How would it feel to leave Indiana? What if I couldn’t do it? Would Texas no longer feel like home after visiting Indiana again?
Of course, things went great and without a hitch. We’re all safely back in Texas, right at home. But, I’ve come to some pretty amazing realizations. For starters, nobody ever said you have to have one home. Texas IS my home, but Indiana will always be my home too. Consider it a vacation house.
Next, leaving really does get easier each time. And I don’t mean this in a bad way. We all like to think we have loved ones that would wait forever to see us again. Seeing this in action affirms that thought, and makes leaving a little easier, as you know they’ll be there when you come back. And in the meantime, we can be spoiled by video calls and the like.
Finally, I’ve realized home isn’t just a place, person, or people – it’s a feeling we get when we find ourselves in a place, with the people we love.