What is a home?

What is a home? Is it a structure, a place, a state of being or perhaps a mindset?

I recently attended the Creative Colloquy Crawl, an event featuring more than 20 storytellers at nine venues in Tacoma.

One of the shows I went to showcased the organizers from the Drunken Telegraph riffing on the theme of home. Megan Sukys talked about the idea of home, contrasting a trip she made to her native North Carolina with her children and their lives in Tacoma, while Tad Monroe talked about what it means to carry on a family name.

The two storytellers talked for about 15 minutes at B Sharp Coffeehouse, each bringing up plenty of food for thought.

As I reflected on both of their stories I was reminded of a discussion Veronica and I recently had  about how we are feeling impatient with life lately. You see, every year or so that we’ve been together we’ve moved.

Drunken Telegraph co-founder Megan Sukys talks about her recent discovery into what makes a place home during the Creative Colloquy Crawl at B Sharp Coffeehouse in Tacoma.
Drunken Telegraph co-founder Megan Sukys talks about her recent discovery into what makes a place home during the Creative Colloquy Crawl at B Sharp Coffeehouse in Tacoma.

We only signed a lease at the same apartment once so far in our lives – always finding a better deal or a more exciting place to live. I think we’ve moved 11 times in our seven years of marriage, including across the country three times.

All that moving had a negative effect on our bank accounts, but it also satisfied our wanderlust.

Now that we’ve purchased a house in University Place, we’re done moving I suppose (though I often joke about moving to Idaho and buying a farm if the housing prices continue to soar here).

And since we’re done moving I guess that means that UP is home?

In her story, Sukys talked about how she took her daughters with her to the beach in North Carolina to spend a week with family. She hoped to bring the past to life, allowing her daughters to experience the magic – and pains – of a beach vacation with a large, extended family.

She had spent time every summer going to the beach, delighting in interactions with family, seeing the sea turtle nesting grounds and making life-long memories.

While she was traveling back to Tacoma, though, she saw Mt. Rainier from the plane and realized that while North Carolina was once home, it wasn’t anymore. And she realized that she was OK with that.

“All this time, I was worried my kids wouldn’t know where home is,” Sukys said, “but it’s right here right now.”

Growing up, I called Kirkland home because that is where I spent the majority of my childhood. Then my parents moved to Spokane while I was in college. They’ve lived there long enough now that I consider their house home, though I’ve never lived in Spokane. When I resided in Texas, I definitely considered that home, but that was probably because Veronica’s family was so accepting of me.

Our home in University Place on a recent rainy afternoon.
Our home in University Place on a recent rainy afternoon.

Even though we lived in four different buildings in the Tri-Cities, Richland was definitely home. I remember any time we were headed back to Eastern Washington, climbing the pass on I-90 and knowing we were “home” when we cleared the summit, leaving the lush green for the dry brown and yellow.

All that moving has taught me that home is certainly more than just a physical place it is where you choose to make it – through making memories, putting down roots with activities, friends and more.

And that is a comforting thought. No matter where you reside at the time, you have the ability to make it home.

So, Veronica, about that farm …

– Craig Craker

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