Thanks to Michigan

Marilynne Robinson wrote about it.

Motley Crue penned lyrics about it, and Ozzy crooned to mama that he’d be returning to it.

Many people want to buy it, fill it and be able to pass it down someday.

There are sections of department stores devoted to it, it holds a fairly important role in the nursery rhyme “To Market” and it’s likely the environment that has the most significance during our childhood.

Home is a word known by most, but which unfortunately sometimes lacks warmth and meaning for others.

It all began in Michigan. The mitten state would prompt me to start ticking off the calendar dates the day I moved into my dorm room for the semester. Mine is a home that has seen my first day of kindergarten, years of corny Halloween costumes (read: Annie, a red Crayon and a fairy ballerina),  piano lessons, clarinet lessons, baton and ballet and guitar lessons, countless nights of watching Lakers games with my dad, and I learned to braid by using strands of rope which hung down off the bottom of a hanging planter on our back porch. This home has seen chalk drawings on driveways, accidental rocket-propelled squirts of t-shirt puffy paint — thanks to a clog in its tip that I was determined to work free — that shot up to the living room ceiling and stayed there for years, sleepovers and my first day of driving.

It’s been the first boyfriend house, the prom house, the homemade birthday cake house, the let’s-make-Shrinky-Dinks-in-the-oven house, the house when I was little I couldn’t wait to leave and — now that I’m older — the house that I can’t wait to come home to every day.

Its front windows with their plantation shutters perfectly frame a Christmas tree in December, or allow the tiniest glimpse of the baby grand nestled into the corner of the living room. The scene in my mind’s eye is always one where I see it from the outside and it’s giving off a warm glow on a chilly, gray evening.

The power of home, for me, has always stood for sense of peace and calm, and it’s been a place for me to retreat to after a long day. 

When I was younger, I remember we used to look at new housing tracts, often times walking through model homes just for fun. I used to think how much fun it would be to move into a new house — maybe even one with a second story — and it stayed that way for years. Until Michigan.

Michigan gave me a new appreciation for home, and it probably was the first time in my life I suspected that leaving this house would be close to unbearable. Ever since then, even when I was only living 40 miles away, it would still call me back most weekends.

Tonight I am thankful for the years of warm memories, happy holidays, joyous birthdays and the daily gathering of family around the dinner table. While I’ve made this house my own and have the great fortune of renting it from my parents, I may still leave it someday…but the foundation of what a home is to me means that I can recreate it anywhere.

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