Home is where the heart is. We've all heard that saying hundreds of times. Home, a place where you feel safe, loved, comfortable and at ease. It's the place you can always return, knowing its walls house a piece of you and your life. Home is home.

But what if, for instance, you move away. Say, maybe to a foreign country. Though home was a house, it now holds a different meaning. It is no longer just those four standing walls, but it becomes something much bigger. Maybe the town in which you lived, or even the country. Such as the sight of an American flag blowing in the breeze gives you a feeling of home. While at the same time, the four walls and roof under which you now live is also home. Your view of home is something slightly different once the security of what you have always known is removed. It isn't less or more, it just is. A different opinion of what home means, stemming from your current situation. Maybe you, as an adult, view home as your childhood home, while you've also created a home with your own family. Home just takes on a new meaning once our lives evolve.
Now, let's try on another situation. You are 14 years old and head to live in a residential facility during the week. On weekends, you return to your house and your family to live. What do you now consider home? Maybe your 14 year old self began life in America, then was moved to Europe without any control over the situation. You return yearly to America for an extended period of time. Does it feel as if you are returning home, though home took on a new meaning at the age of five? And when Friday rolls around and the bus sets you off at the front door of your current house, your mother greeting you at the door, do you feel as if you are home? When Monday morning rolls around and the same bus picks you up to return you to your new living quarters at your school for the week, do you feel as if you are home? Home is where the heart is. But where does the heart lie when such a situation as this arises in your world? Is your heart split into enough pieces to engage each of these homes? Or is your heart left behind in the one place you truly feel most comfortable, safe, at ease, and loved?

I'm questioning "home" today. I need to question it and conclude that home is where the heart is, and the heart remains with your family, those people whom love you most. Your heart doesn't split, but expands, as home takes on yet another new view.

This week Kaeden was taken to his new residential care facility at his current school. He has his own bedroom in a very clean, cozy, comfortable house. He lives with 9 other boys ranging from 9-16 years old. There are two attendants on duty at all times, acting as friends, companions, leaders, guides in this home. He has his list of chores, his new set of rules, while he can also snuggle up with his own comfy stuffed animals, his slippers on his feet wrapped in his own blankie from babyhood. He goes from Monday-Friday and returns home to me on Friday afternoon.
I don't know what home means to Kaeden. I'm not even sure what it means to me, being housed in a different country without my extended family nearby. But home, this place I find myself most often, with my own messes and my own clothes, my own little family and the love and experiences we share, really is home. It comes down to a choice I made. I wanted to be with the man I loved. I chose to make a home here in Europe with him and our children. My 'home', America or Wyoming or my childhood home, all remain close in my heart, and I still consider them home as well. My heart has definitely expanded to accompany all of my homes.

I hope that when Kaeden is getting his stuff packed up on Friday, he'll tell his attendents "Goodbye, see ya Monday, I'm going HOME!" Because no matter where my son houses his body between four brick walls, home is where the heart is. And Kaeden's heart is right here with his mama, always and forever, home. Yet, though it stings, I also hope as I kiss him goodbye at the door of our family home on Monday morning, he will tell me, "See ya Friday mama. I'm headed home." (Notice the exclamation point on Friday and the period on Monday). I want my son to be comfortable, safe, loved and at ease. I want him to feel that no matter where he lives, he can feel at home. But, I also want him to know, that no matter what, home is where the heart is. My heart and his, intertwined in a web of love and commitment, no matter where our bodies find us.


Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

Tera, this is such a beautiful post. I'll be thinking of you as Kaeden adjusts to his new surroundings and you all adjust to the new school arrangement. Sending love and best wishes.

V-Grrrl at Compost Studios said...

When I was younger, I had strong attachment to the places I called home. I memorized everything about them; I hung onto every detail of life there.

It took a long time for me to move past that sort of attachment, an attachment that was so strong it was painful and limiting. Becoming an expat helped me disengage from that way of thinking and recognize the truth: that I could be at home in many places, with many people, that I had reached a point where feeling "at home" was all about self-acceptance, confidence, and compassion and connection with others.

Kaeden is learning that lesson, and you're continuing to learn it. You will always be her mother, Tera, his first love, his rock. Nothing can change that.

Jade said...

I don't think home is a place. I personally think it's a state of mind. It's feeling safe, cared for, and being part of something bigger than yourself.

Knowing you and how much you love your boys, I know thy you have faith in his new residence and the opprotunities that will be given to him. And on the weekend he will come home and show you all of his growth and skills.

I look forward to hearing about both his and your growth during this process.

Hugs to you my friend!!