Today is my son’s fifth birthday.
And from the day he was born, I’ve had a very different definition of “home” in my life.
Up until the moment I saw his blond little head, I would’ve answered that my home was wherever my address said it was.
And in the years before he was born, that “home” was all over the place.
Journalism school grads, my husband and spent those first early years bumping around the East Coast. Places where we had a home but never really felt at home.
The year before the kiddo was born, we moved “home.” Back to Kansas. To the little-big town where we’d gone to college. It was funny, coming back to this place we’d spent four years, living on other people’s money in an environment that was as much a commune as it was a pressure cooker.
But we weren’t kids anymore.
Maybe because of that, we both felt at home back in Lawrence, Kansas—Hey, we know how to get to Target!—and not at all. We both associated this place with a certain period in our lives, and now we were past that.
Heck, we’d been away five years. We’d owned a house. Survived three major hurricanes and those bizarre and bumbling opening years of a career.
The second I finally felt at home back “home”? The morning after Kansas won the 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.
Our first title in exactly 20 years. Obviously, it was very exciting—a title to go with a come-from-behind overtime victory over Memphis.
But that excitement faded a few minutes after I woke up and a new excitement stormed in: That little pink line on a pregnancy test.
Suddenly, home wasn’t going to be defined by our street number or zip code or whether or not we felt like we fit in a town teeming with college kids and Prius-driving professors. Because now none of that mattered.
From that second on, home would be wherever our child would be with us.
Since that pink line, we’ve changed our address three times. Going from apartment to townhome to a house much different than the one we owned back when home was South Florida.
We could move 20 more times and I wouldn’t care. As long as my son is with me, I’m at home.
Happy birthday, N.