Home Is Where The Heart Is

Everyone knows the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” I absolutely believe this is true.

Growing up as an “Army brat” and moving at least 18 times in my life, it was often hard to feel like I was really at home anywhere. People ask me where I’m from and I struggle to answer the question. I usually default to saying that most of my family is from Alabama but I moved all over the place growing up, and now we have finally planted roots in Kentucky. But where a person lives is not necessarily where they feel at home.

Home and a sense of belonging, complete with safety, security, and comfort is a very basic need built into all of us. People yearn for a home. Not just a house or a place to live, a home. A place we can go as we are and not be questioned or judged but be fully loved, fully accepted, fully ourselves.

We all need shelter. Anything can provide that. But having a home is another thing. Home simply defined is the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. It is an almost animalistic trait of any living thing to instinctively return to its territory after leaving it.

Many times in my life I strived to create a home where there wasn’t one. To have a home when all I had was a structure. Home is where the heart is, but in order for the heart to truly know it is home, it has to be welcomed, known and accepted. The place the heart tries to claim as home must be willing to claim it. Much like a heart transplant, if the body rejects the heart, the heart will die and so will the person.

A home filled with nothing but yourself. It’s heavy, that lightness. It’s crushing, that emptiness.” Margaret Atwood

For much of my life, my heart wasn’t even at home in my own chest. I didn’t accept myself or deem myself worthy, so I struggled to provide an adequate home for my heart. I think this is why I continued trying to place it in the hands and chests of others, hoping they’d accept it, give it a home and call it worthy. That didn’t work and my heart remained homeless, despite my relentless efforts to shelter it. Although I was with people who were meant to love me and accept me as I did them, and who I yearned to create a home with, in those relationships I always felt homesick.

“A man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.” Zen Proverb

When my boys were born, my heart found it’s forever home. I not only began to accept myself as a worthy home for them and a safe place for my heart to live, but I also now had two (and soon three) worthy souls who my heart belonged to. My body had been their literal home for the first months of their lives and I knew instantly that my heart would be their home forever. I grew them inside me for 10 months and sustained their lives solely with my body for the first year. My heart beats for my sons, and every day it is clear that in me is where my boys find their home.

A couple days ago when I picked the boys up from the nursery at church, they did the usual celebration of my return as if I’d been gone a week, which always melts my heart, but then Connor asked me to hold him. Its a struggle to hold them while also trying to juggle two more children, bags and a stroller; but there are times where no matter how difficult it is physically, it’s important to figure it out emotionally. So I picked Connor up after celebrating the reunion with all 3 boys and he immediately wrapped his entire three foot body around me, nuzzled his head into the nape of my neck, took a deep breath and with a smile on his face he looked at me and said, “Mommy, I so happy!” This melted me and I said, “I’m so happy too buddy. I love you!” And then he squeezed me tighter and looked me right in the eyes and said, “Mommy, I’m home!

That is it.

There it is.

The thing that makes motherhood the miraculous, life giving thing that it is. No matter how homeless, neglected and abused your heart has been, in your children, it has a home; and where you are is where home is for your children. You were their home for the first 10 months of their life, and you will be their home forever.

No matter how many times we have moved, as long as my mom and the people who truly love me were there, it was home. Mother Teresa said, “Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.” Regardless of where I’m living, what my circumstances look like, or whether I ever find a partner in life worthy of sharing my heart with, my boys and I will forever be at home because we have each other. The tides of life will come and we may not always be in the same place physically, but my body will always be a home for my children and nothing in the world is more magnificent than that. Perhaps home is not a place after all, but simply an irrevocable condition. Home truly is where the heart is.

“Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners.” Charles Henry Parkhurst

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47 thoughts on “Home Is Where The Heart Is

  1. I teared up at this post. There is nothing better than loving my daughter and feeling her love just like your son showed you. It’s not easy being a mom, but those times show that parenthood is the best fulfillment a person can have! πŸ™‚
    I moved a lot as a child and we have been traveling for almost half of our daughters life, so we all know that home is where we are together. πŸ™‚ great post! Thank you for sharing!

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    • Wow thank you so much for your sweet words! You’re exactly right, wherever you are loved and together, that’s where home is. She will be a stribger, more adaptable person for having moved so much, even if it’s not always enjoyable or fun. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and taking the time to read!

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  2. This is a beautiful post, thank you so much. I am currently going through a separation and when I don’t have my 2 boys, I feel so lost. They’re only with me half the time now and it feels so unnatural. I’m having a hard time financially keeping my home, but I’m dead set on it because that’s where they have always called home and their mommy is there. So they know they have that home base with the most loving person on the planet to them. But when they’re not there, it is a struggle to work on the house and it sits in a strange limbo until the boys come back. I hope that part will eventually get better for me. Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, I loved reading this, it made me cry but in a good way. xoxo

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    • Thank you so much for sharing this with me. I’m so glad this touched you and meant something to you. I’m going through a divorce as well and so far haven’t had to really do visitation stuff much, but when and if I do, I’m going to be lost. Not only because of my boys not being with me (and I’ve never been away from any of them over night and the longest day time hours away was like 8 to 10 hours only a few times when I worked full time,) but also because I don’t trust what will be happening with them when they’re not with me. I can only,imagine the pain you feel having them only half the time. It is unnatural, so that’s why it feels so bad. I’m with you and pray it gets easier and that your boys always know where their true home is, no matter what happens. I pray for peace and strength for you as you endure this awful season of your life and that you find peace theough the storm. Separation and divorce is tough no matter what, But with kids, it’s almost impossible. I don’t know your situation but I hope you will be better off because of it all, even though it hurts now. Hang in there!!!
      How old are your boys?

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      • Thanks so much for responding. My boys are 3 and 10 yrs old. I have the hardest time not having my 3yr old. It’s not as bad with my older son because I know he can take care of himself and will be alright. I can also talk to him when he’s home about his feelings and how he’s doing splitting the time between his father and me. But it’s the little one that hurts me the most. Not only do I worry sick if he’s safe and sound, but I miss his little arms around me. I can’t sleep at night and have to have either my bedroom door or their doors closed. I wake up not wanted to get out of bed, because there’s no reason to get out of bed, no babies to get dressed and fed and ready for the day. I never thought it would be this awful, and maybe in time, I’ll get used to it… I think we both have had a similar go of it, being in an unfulfilling marriage, becoming a mother, and that becoming our whole world… but to then lose that time with your kids to be fair to their dad, for years, I was unwilling to separate because of that reason alone. Now, here I am, going through it, and sometimes I don’t feel like I can get through the day. My friends want me to date or pick up a hobby, but I just sit at home wishing my kids were with me. When it’s time for you to do visitation, try to limit it if you can. We agreed on 50/50 and now I completely regret it. I thought I was doing the right thing, but I’m not doing the right thing for myself at all. Anyway, sorry to be such a downer, thanks for your kind words. I love your writing, you have an amazing way with words!

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        • Thank you so much! I’m so sorry this is what you’re going through right now. Its absolutely devastating in so many ways. I am acutely aware of my need to balance my investment in the boys and investment in myself because even without separation and divorce, there will come a time in their life that they will be on their own and not with me all the time, and I’ll have to survive. Luckily that’s many years away, but it’s still true. I’m not ready to survive without them for even a day right now though. Its tough no matter how old they are but I understand what you mean about it being worse with your 3 year old. It’s why I wish I could avoid the visitation game altogether since they’re so young and won’t really know the difference at thus point. I’m trusting God will work out the details for all of our good, even if it’s not my idea of perfection. I’m sorry you’re in an agreement that doesn’t seem to work well for you. I’m scared to death of that for myself. I will pray either you can change it or the adjustment will get better. Try to stay connected to famiky and friends who can support you in the time your boys are away so you can fill yourself with positive things. Its hard but so necessary. If you’re happy and healthy, your boys will pick up on that, even if it’s only half the time. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers! ❀

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  3. It is so wonderful that you were present in the moment to receive the lesson that your son gave you. Thank you for sharing it with us–beautifully written.

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  4. I love this! I didn’t grow up as a military brat but my husband is in the Air Force and our daughter who is almost 2 will grow up as a military brat. I have always worried that she wont have a place to identify as “being from” like I did growing up, but where we are is her home, and I hope she will find comfort in that.

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    • She absolutely will! Thank you, im glad this hit home for you. Military life is tough but it brings with it many beautiful things as well…not the least of which being the gift of holding tight to family and learning they are really who matter in life the most!

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  5. I’m not even half way through my coffee (very appropriate considering another post of yours), and my heart is bleeding and I’m teary. I knew my vocation was to be a mother, above all else. If I wasn’t to marry, my prayer was that I may adopt or foster. Still, I had no clue that once I began a mother, my lack of certainty in terms of career, focus, etc. would fall to the wayside, and I would feel almost perfect resolve; I had met my purpose and career uncertainty meant nothing. My anxiety greatly dissipated. Home is with my kids and my kids with me.
    Connor’s reaction to you just melted me. What a beautiful, priceless, rich moment!!! Oh and by the way, the Margaret Atwood quote I just love. I love how oxymoronic it is and how totally accurate it is too (she’s one of my favourite all time authors).

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    • Thank you so much! And yes, as long as family is near, you are home! And even for those who don’t have a great family, wherever the people are who love you for you and accept you fully, that is where home is. Thanks for your comment and I hope the move is a smooth transition.

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