Home. That one word evokes so much emotion. And we've all heard the different sayings:
"Home is where the heart is"
"Home is where you are"
"Home is where your mother is"
"Home is where I am when I'm with you"
And the list goes on...
This week my husband and I are on our annual summer vacation back in my hometown. I come from the Jersey Shore....the real one. Not the one with all of the fist pumping, hair gel and gold chains (we do have those here but the locals aren't the culprits). The one with the beautiful views, boats, water, beaches, fishing and so many friends and family that I've been missing so much lately. We missed last summer's trip home because we used up all of our time off for the wedding and our honeymoon in Jamaica. It had been so long since I've been up here that the ache for "home" was so deep in my soul I could barely stand it.
Years ago I left home for college and then went to grad school and then before I knew it I had started my career nearly 500 miles away in North Carolina. Some people run away from home the first chance they get. They vow that they're "getting out" and will never look back. I wasn't ever running away from anything. I was just pursuing my own thing and learning more and more about myself in new environments with new people and new jobs and interests. One thing after another and now I'm married and loving my life in Raleigh. It wasn't until pretty recently that I really started longing for my "home" and wondering what it would be like if my husband and I were living somewhere reasonably close to here.
But this begs the question...what am I really missing? Is it the nostalgia of being here that evokes my deep feelings? The thought and sight of all of the places I spent so much time in my younger years? The mornings before work spent sipping coffee on the beach, the winter evenings sitting at the inlet just watching the tide roll in and out, the smells, the sounds and all of the relationships that are unique to here? Or is it the feeling of missing out on so much of the people who were always such a significant part of my life? I don't know that I'll ever be able to answer that question from Raleigh.
The last couple of weeks I've been thinking hard about the idea of home. Is it possible to be completely at home in two distinctly different places? To have half of your heart in one place and half in the other? To long for one place so much it hurts but to so deeply feel that you can't leave the other place because you love it there too? How do you manage when that's the reality of your life? I'm sitting here on my last day at "home" and I'm so happy for the time we've had to spend here but I'm really sad to leave. However I'm excited to go "home" to see my dogs and be back in my routine and get together with friends and just be in Raleigh. I'm lucky, you know? I have two places so close to my heart that I get to experience on a regular basis. I have close relationships and fun memories in both homes and for that, I am fortunate.
So for now I will be a girl with two homes and two hearts each filled with love for those places. It's been an amazing week and I eagerly look forward to my next trip. Now to head off and get ready to go home...
Until next time.