It is January and a new year. A time of transition from the holiday bubble back to our normal life. Life without Christmas cookies and old home movies. Life uncomplicated by childhood nostalgia and the feeling you get when you walk into your parents’ house and realize it’s not your home anymore.
It’s strange what the holidays do to our psyche. We return to our roots only to find them unfamiliar. Did I really used to sleep in this bed? Listen to this music? Did I really once care about the mall?
We like to say home is where our family is, but as we age, our idea of family changes. We move away, get married, go to grad school, have babies, change careers, find new communities and all of a sudden we look in the mirror and see somebody different. Somebody wiser, somebody stronger, somebody who doesn’t care about the mall. Our values evolve along with our bodies, and suddenly family isn’t just who you are related to, but who you can actually relate to. Blood binds us, but so does real kinship.
As part of an alarmingly disconnected generation, I’ve discovered a need in myself and others to feel “at home” in our relationships. We want to feel connection beyond a text message. We want to be heard. We want to be understood. We want to create a family of real, honest, relationships. We do not want to make small talk at an obligatory luncheon or pretend to like yoga. We want to be ourselves.
Motherhood has only affirmed this need for community. The old adage “it takes a village” is not just a catchy idiom. It literally takes a village of humans to raise another human. It is not just Austin and I, but Austin and I with dozens of other hand holders, dish washers, back patters, and phone listeners. As a parent raising a family away from my own family, I am continually surprised at the kindness of others. I have watched former strangers scrub my floors, rock my baby, and love on my toddler. I have cried out on dark days only to receive incredible kindness and compassion and loaves of bread. Like some sort of strange miracle, I have watched a new home be born.
This doesn’t mean our roots aren’t important. A wise friend recently told me that in a world becoming increasingly transient, our deepest desire is for people to fully know who we are. To know not just who we are today, but who we’ve been; our history, our journey, all the varying versions of ourselves.
We want everyone to know who we’ve been so that we can keep on becoming. To weave our past to our present in hopes of a future built on truth, because that’s what home really is. At the end of the day, home is where we are the truest versions of ourselves.