Home is where I was raised. Where I played, laughed, cried, and learned. It is where I grew. Where I became me—a strong, intelligent woman—confident in myself, in my future and in my past.
I believe that a home is more than four walls and a roof over head. Home is an environment. It is the feeling that greets me when I walk through the door. It is the people who wait for me to get home. It is my dog whose hind end shakes back and forth when she gets excited because she has practically no tail. My home extends out of the walls and windows of my actual house. It goes down the cracked pavement to my grandparents’ house. It twists and turns with the broken roads of my town. My home is my rock solid foundation, and I will take it with me when I leave.
I believe that home is where individuals become themselves, not primarily physically but mentally. It becomes a mold that forms who they are. Behind the pizza place where I work, there’s a stream that runs into the river my town is built around. When it is a really busy night, I sneak down to the river for my precious 20-minute break, stepping carefully along the rocks to the edge of the river. There are cars and people on both sides of the stream, but the stream and I are invisible. Too busy to slow down, they pass me by and I am perfectly content in that moment. I feel at home.
Home for me is made of experiences—moments of my life that helped to change me and to teach me. For that reason, my home is also people and when home takes on a human form, it is called family. I believe that family is a relative term—nothing to do with blood, defined by relationships. When my grandmother died, her best friend, Nancy, became a family friend. She helped us get through the tough time and has become almost an adopted grandmother to my sister and me. I was three when she came into my life and now I would never think of saying that she is a family friend. She is family.
No matter where I go in the future, my foundation will always sit firmly in Maine, in this environment and with these people who have formed me as a person and taught me how to live. I know that I can always come home. After all, home is where the heart is.