Home. Children are going back to school, leaving home. College students are getting ready to leave home either for the first time or returning to their campus life. I remember those days and how my life changed.

I’ve lived in several houses during my life. Houses with my late husband Jerry. Houses by myself. Houses with and without my children. Houses with Michael.

What home means to me has also changed. You see I no longer think of a physical structure when I reminiscence about home.

Three passages from A Beautiful View come to mind:

“The kids are coming home.”

Whether I’m living in Illinois or Arizona, when my children are with me, I’m home. Traveling to Japan to visit my son, I experienced a feeling of home. My heart is at home holding and playing with my granddaughters at their East Coast home.

Home is being with your family, no matter where you gather.

“Through the large arched front windows, the antique chandeliers in the great room flickered as if they were candles.  The house looked festive, as if we were having a party. A homecoming party.  We were away too long.  Too many hotel nights.  Home at last.”

My home has always been a refuge for me. The return home after lengthy stays in the hospital during Jerry’s illness filled me with relief.

Now, whether I’m traveling for work, pleasure or family, thoughts of returning home bring me a feeling of security and peace.

“Call it what you want, but I went home. I sat in the hot water, soaking and thinking.  The silence I longed for these past weeks reached my inner being as I lay in the tub.  Finally, I began to cleanse my thoughts and emotions.”

Home is where I can be myself. To laugh, cry, be happy, sad, angry. To be complete.

I love to close my eyes and listen to familiar neighborhood sounds: children playing, grass being cut, birds singing. Home is the calm I feel while enjoying these sounds.

We all have our own sense of home, if we stop and think about it.

What is home to you?