The word means so many different things. Home is a sense of place; of familiarity and of belonging. I lived in the same town until I left for college. Nursery school, kindergarten, rec soccer, elementary school, ballet class, girl scouts, middle school, basketball, volleyball, piano lessons, confirmation, high school, marching band, young life, youth group; all lived within the same 7×3 mile town. Home is a place called Bay Village with families and Huntington beach and bay days and community prom pictures. I know this town. I know its streets and its culture and its secrets. But this town knows me. It shaped the first 18 years of my life and continues to affect me when I least expect it.
My parents have lived in the same house for the last 20 years. When I’m coming home, I’m returning to the past 20 years. A look around my bedroom reveals the child that once lived there and the woman who has returned. A doll in the closet, photos on the wall, a scribbled note passed in science class, dried corsages, college textbooks weave together to tell a still incomplete story of the girl who once danced and laughed and cried and lived within these four walls.
Stepping back into this place is a returning; a moving through all of the layers that have aligned to form my being. I feel a bit like Dorothy, leaving Oz and returning to Kansas. I leave behind the technicolor world of DC with its flashing lights and new adventures to return to the black-and-white heartland, known and home.