Friday, February 10, 2012

Family and "home" - NaBloPoMo 10

The prompt for today asks if I live near my family.  Depends on the scope of the question.  I guess you could say I do - I live a one hour drive from my brother's family, two hours from my sister's and two hours from my parents (in the warm weather - across the country to Tucson in the winter).  Technology allows us to call, email, text, Facebook, share photos and videos...yes, I would say we are in close proximity. 

What this prompt really raised for me was the concept of "home".  It is common to be asked "where are you from?" or "where did you grow up?" and that has always puzzled me a bit, and I use a variety of answers, depending on the source of the question.  There's the nickel tour:  I was born in one town in IL, moved to another suburb of Chicago where I went to K and half of 1st grade, then to one metro suburb in Minnesota for the other half of 1st grade, then a different 'burb for 2nd grade, then to North Dakota for 3rd-9th grade, then to a small town in Minnesota for 9th-12th grade, then two different colleges (2 years each), then to the metro area in Minnesota for 4 years (2 different places), then Seattle for 5 years (4 different places), then back to the metro area in Minnesota for 3 years (2 different places), then to a small city in Minnesota for 2 years, then a very small town for 1 year, then back to that small city for 4 years, then to our current small city where we've been IN THE SAME HOUSE for over 5 years now.  No wonder I feel the itching feet these days, with all that moving around!

With all that moving around, and with my parents having moved away from the home where I last lived with them some 20 years ago, what I learned was that - for me - "home" is where my family is.  Particularly my parents.  "Home" is the people I want around me on holidays like Christmas Eve and when I need my family - I'm not sure that the physical location matters a whole lot to me.  But what I also learned was that I want to give my children what I didn't have, which is the opportunity to grow up in a community and feel like you are "from there".  I love that my eldest daughter is now in 3rd grade with folks she knows from kindergarten, and I hope we can maintain that for her.  I always felt like an outsider at any of my schools - I hadn't been there long and I wasn't related to anyone in school or in town (for any of you who haven't experienced true small town life, it often feels like a large percentage of the school or town populations is related by blood or marriage).


  1. As the product of a nomadic childhood (about fifteen homes by the time I moved out of my parents' house), I always wanted my kids to have the sense of belonging and community that I missed out on. They will probably all turn out to be wanderers in rebellion. ;)

  2. "Home is where the heart is" whether you're a nomad or not. It's cliche, perhaps, but a truism.

    I've lived all over the country, with and without family close by, and still found that sense of home lasting only as long as the place intrigued me or called to me.

    It's that way for quite a few people. I'm always happy to see family, but living close to them hasn't been home for most of my life and that's okay.

    Good post. I enjoyed it.


  3. I grew up in one house, living there from birth until I left at age 19. I LOVED that house and that yard. It was HOME. Between 19 and 32, I moved a fair amount - college years and early working years - easily 15 times. But, we have resided at the same home for the past (almost) 27 years. Our children knew nothing but this house and this small town until they went to college. They have friends with whom they have hung out since they were in preschool - really! They are appreciative of the stability and so am I.


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