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Monday, August 13, 2012

Reflections: Where is Your Home?

As a military family, sometimes it's very difficult for us to answer a question as simple as "Where is your home?"  Some families may have many homes, some may have just one, and some may not really have a place to call home.  Since we move every few years, things can be a bit confusing, and to be honest, it's a also disheartening because I feel like we can't ever establish permanent roots as long as Mr. L stays in the military.  Buying a home is normally out of the question, and when kids come around, they won't be growing up in the same home/area for their entire lives.  In a way it's not exactly the life I envisioned for myself, which of course is not to say I don't appreciate the great things that come out of this lifestyle; the travel is pretty amazing, after all =)

My Hawaiian "not quite" home!
If you push past the many literal answers, I do absolutely know the answer I'd give to the question, however.  During a visit to Oahu, a couple of friends and I were discussing exactly what home meant to us.  My friend Shawn told me that his experiences allow him to transition very easily from one place to another and declare it "home".  I personally have never been like this.  "Home" is a very sacred, special word to me that represents a sacred, special place.  Only one place in this world will ever be home to me, no matter how many different places I end up living, and that place is Alabama.  Florida never felt like home to it (let's face it, I was hardly ever even there -- nearly every weekend Mr. L and I chose to make the drive back to ol' Bama to spend time with our families) and Hawaii definitely doesn't since it's so far away from our families.  But this isn't to say that I never liked Florida or that I don't like Hawaii -- that's very far from the truth.  Florida was beautiful and Hawaii is seriously amazing.  But neither place (or probably any other places in the future) will be our home.  This is one of the main reasons why I'm SO excited I get to go back to Alabama this year!

Mobile, Alabama -- not quite as pretty as the other picture, but I love it regardless!
I think Mr. L and I did luck out a bit in this department, though.  We come from the same place.  Countless military and civilian families are split between two states, two coasts, or sometimes two sides of the world.  I feel like we are truly blessed that this is one less thing we have to worry about, especially when it comes to holidays (that is, when we're actually around to share them with family, of course).

One of my fears is that one day Alabama will cease to feel like "home".  I often wonder, "What if we're gone for so long that it never feels the same way again?  What happens if family moves away and we lose that connection?"  It's scary to think about losing something you treasure so much.  If it does happen though, and eventually it most likely will, I hope that we are resourceful enough to be able to either find that feeling or rebuild it as best as we can wherever we are forced to live, regardless of if we are close to family or not.  Maybe it will be easier once we start having kids of our own and start forging their childhood and home experiences and traditions, although it will still suck regardless if we end up too far from family to regularly visit!

What does "home" mean to you?  Have you ever been in a situation similar to mine, via the military or otherwise?

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