May 6, 2016

In less than three years of marriage, Nick and I are gearing up for our third move.

Oh, military life.

Everywhere we live is only temporary. It will be a long time before we can plant our roots somewhere. No matter how lovely our house looks or how much I love where we live, our transience is always in the back of my mind. Sometimes that makes it hard to feel at home.

Still, I’m amazed at how quickly I do feel at home, at how quickly those roots begin to grow without me even realizing it.

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I told you that when we first moved to Connecticut, my very first thought was, “I hate it here.”

Fast forward to four months later: As I drove up to our house after a week away, I thought to myself, “It’s good to be home.”

As soon as I thought that, I was surprised, and even a little bit confused.

We’re only here for 6 months. That doesn’t seem like enough time to do much more than go through the motions of setting up our house and getting ready to move again. It doesn’t seem like enough time to make a home.

So how does this place already feel like home? So much has happened in our little house in the past four months that it would be impossible to not call it home:

This home is where our mold moving disaster happened. I’ll never forget where I was standing when I saw my kitchen table covered in black mold.

This home is where Nick and I bought all of our new furniture, where we started completely over. I am not exaggerating when I say that we had to buy all new furniture, all new electronics, all new kitchen stuff. When I’m trying to figure out where my to put all of these things in my houses in the future, I will always think back to Connecticut, how we ended up with all-new stuff, and how it all looked in our house in Connecticut.

This home is where my dad built us a new TV stand. I’ll think of the day he brought it up here and I’ll remember exactly what it looked like here in Connecticut, whenever I sit down and watch TV in our future homes.

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This home is where I created “Finding Ithaka!”

This home is where Nick had snow days, where we sipped hot chocolate and cuddled under blankets. It’s where our friends and family have come up for weekends, where we have made so many memories.

So what makes a home?

I know that it takes time. I know that it’s okay if a house doesn’t feel at home for a long time. It’s something you can’t force. It just sort of sneaks up on you. When that happens, it’s like a sigh of relief. It feels like you have finally arrived home after a long time away.

I know that you might even start to get that feeling when you are looking at places to live. Something about our apartment in Hawaii and our house in Connecticut just felt right. There was this feeling that made us overlook any of the things that other people might not have liked about them. It took a while to really feel at home in both of those places, but I felt an instant connection.

I know that making a home is more than the stuff we own, but that it is inextricably connected to our favorite chair, the pictures we hang on our walls, and our favorite coffee mugs. I know that surrounding myself with my favorite things helps me feel at home.

I know that getting our house in order, putting our furniture where we want it to go, and organizing our closets helps a lot. The first month that we lived here, we didn’t have any furniture at all, and that was hard. Being able to cuddle on the couch under my favorite blankets is probably the definition of home for me!

I know that wherever Nick and I plant ourselves slowly becomes home, as we spend our nights hanging out on the couch, as we make messes and cook dinner and make memories.

I know that for me, home is so much more than where I live. It’s about being comfortable, about being with the one I love, about sleeping in my own bed, about being able to be completely myself.

I also know that many places can feel like home. My parent’s house, our apartment in Hawaii, and our house in Connecticut all feel like home. I know that I’ve left a piece of my heart in each of those places. I know that it is hard to leave any place that comes to feel like home. It’s probably the hardest part about moving around so much, leaving a piece of you in so many different places.

Maybe that saying is true:”home is wherever I’m with you.” It doesn’t matter if we have furniture, it doesn’t matter where we are – as long as we are together, we always make it work.

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10 responses to “What I know about making a house a home.”

  1. Cait says:

    so true girl! great points! happy friday!

  2. I seriously still don’t know how you handled losing all of your stuff this past year! Like you said, home is a feeling, and sometimes it just sneaks up on you, and one day the house that you’re living in becomes a home. I also love that phrase “home is wherever I’m with you” because more often than not it’s the people that help a house to feel like a home!

    • Carolann says:

      That really made it hard to feel like we were home here. I now realize more than ever the importance of having your stuff with you. This place just didn’t seem like home until we replaced our couch and were able to just relax it with a glass of wine, until we hung stuff up on the walls. I have a new appreciation for things I used to take for granted, like a kitchen table!!

  3. Jenn says:

    Love this! Josh and I have moved 3 times in our almost 6 year relationship and are about to move again. Places definitely start to feel like home a lot faster than we expect 🙂

    • Carolann says:

      Wow 3 times already! Before Nick and I got married, I had lived in the same house my entire life. It’s almost time to move again and I’m both excited and sad. But it sounds like you’ve already got this whole moving around thing down!

  4. Emma says:

    As an expat I can fully sympathise – it took a long while (especially with my of my stuff on the other side of the world) to really settle in… home is a state of mind right?

    • Carolann says:

      Oh I can’t imagine! Did you come to London with just suitcases? At least we have our stuff carted across the US for us. Yes, home is a state of mind!

  5. Rachel says:

    I tend to feel like I have many ‘homes’–and my favorite is the one with Angel. We’ve lived in three countries since we got married, and we have so many precious memories in each home–leaving is the hard part, though.

    • Carolann says:

      3 countries! Wow! What an amazing adventure you two are having. I agree, wherever I’m with my husband is home for me. I love moving around, but… the hardest part for me is always the day we actually leave our house. It’s hard to leave a place you love, a place where you build a home and have countless memories.

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