Home is where?

This weekend we’re headed to Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving.  And we’ll say we’re going home.  When we leave on Sunday we’ll say we’re going back to DC. But the house I grew up in hasn’t been my home for 3+ years.

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Home is where the heart is, that’s the expression, right? Then there’s the song popular on the wedding video circuit “home is wherever I’m with you.” So where is home? Is it where you grew up? Where you go to bed at night? Where your family is? Your parents?

I’ve noticed I have friends that will say “I’m going to New York for the weekend” or “We’ll be in PA this weekend” and though they’re going to stay with their parents, they don’t say they’re going home.   I’ve noticed other friends say “I’ll be home…” or “I’m going home” if they’re going to visit their family.

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For me, the house I grew up in stopped being my home sometime during college.  Maybe it was because my parents got divorced and the house started to feel different without my mom living there.  Maybe it was because I lost my own room when I went away to school. Maybe it was because my pillows and blankets would get taken off my bed for siblings’ sleepovers and not put back so that when I came home my bed wasn’t really a relaxing, comforting, stable space. I’m sure it was a combination of most of these things but mostly I think the shift happened when I became more comfortable in my place than I was at home.

Since Mike and I grew up in the same town, our town has always been home to us.  When we went away to college, we’d go home for the weekend and then back to Lafayette.  I guess that language just kind of stuck when moved to DC.  We go home to PA and then back to DC.

When do you start using the word “home” to describe your residence?  Does it come when you buy a house or move to the suburbs? Have kids or a dog and you say “come on, we’re going home”? Does it come when you’re married or engaged and your significant other isn’t from the same place as you?

I’d love to know:

What do you think? Where do you call “home”?

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