Home is more of a feeling, less of a place.
At least, that’s what I’m learning.
When we left Mexico a little over a year ago, I felt as though we were leaving the one place where we’d truly been at home. In a family of mixed cultures, traditions, and languages, Mexico brought us together from Peru and the U.S., it was a happy medium, literally, we met in Mexico, the midpoint between our two birthplaces.
A country that had welcomed us with open arms, a place where our eldest two were born, a city that we knew so well, a community that felt more like family than simply friends....how would we ever feel at home again?
And yet, it’s been 14 months, and maybe, just maybe, the feeling of home is starting to take hold once again.
It’s found in the little things, such as having both kids at school with me again and on our morning commute, hearing the 8-year-old say “Mommy, I like school now. It feels comfy to me.” Or the almost 6-year-old found laughing in the lunchroom with her new friends and playing "school" every afternoon in our basement when she gets home because she loves kindergarten oh so much.
It’s the new routines of fall, found in biking to the parks nearby, jumping in the leaves, and pushing their baby brother on the swing seeing who can make him giggle more. It’s getting invited to their first playdate this month without me, knowing that they are settling in and making friends.
It’s attending homecoming this year and actually knowing people’s names and having meaningful conversations, it’s a sense of belonging. It’s more than just wearing blue and gold to represent the school colors, it’s feeling at home every morning opening the door to the school knowing I have colleagues I trust and respect and that the feeling is mutual.
It’s inviting people over, laughs around the dining room table, and happy hours with friends. It’s watching our kids grow, play, and figure out how they want to show up while we too find our people and friends.
Home is so much more than a place, it’s a feeling. And it’s something that takes time and intention, little by little, I think we are settling in. It’s being grateful that we’re still standing, still together. It’s not perfect, there are still moments of tension and conflict as we navigate all the things, but it’s choosing to be together, it’s making memories, it’s finding a sense of belonging.
It’s sweet and at times, nearly breaks my heart as I can’t help but wonder, are we doing this right? Should we have stayed in Mexico? Was moving to Minnesota the right thing?
Our tender 8-year-old asked me last week, “Mommy, can you promise me you’ll never make us change schools again?” It’s the acknowledgment that it’s been hard in so many ways, not only for Walter and I, finding our way, but our kids have had to stretch and grow and adapt to 2 new school experiences since moving. It’s trusting that we’re going to be okay, that this is for the best.
And as long as we are choosing to love and stick it out together, it will truly feel like a homecoming.
Because home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling of belonging and being together.
And slowly, but surely, it’s starting to feel more like coming home.