After spending two weeks at college, I made my first trip back home for Labor Day weekend, and I discovered a little bit about what "home" means. I know that sounds corny (this whole post probably will), but it's the truth. I can only describe it as one of those moments where I didn't realize what I had until it was gone.
The funniest thing is that I hadn't really been feeling homesick at all. As you know, I've been enjoying college life to the fullest. I decided to go home this weekend because, to be honest, everyone else on my floor was going home, and I didn't want to be stuck down in Wilmington with nothing to do all weekend. Besides, I had some laundry to get done. ;-)
So I packed my bags and made the two-and-a-half hour drive back to my hometown. As I pulled into the driveway of my house, I simply couldn't believe how happy I was to see it. Mom and Dad welcomed me at the door, and we talked for a long time about how life's been treating me (and life's been treating me very good, to be true). Then I had a home-cooked meal (spaghetti and banana pudding, oh how marvelous) and went to bed in my old room (possibly one of the best sleeps of my entire life). The rest of the weekend was spent visiting friends and family members that I hadn't seen in a while. I know it's only been two weeks, but everyone treated my visit like I'd been gone for a year or so (and it did feel like that at times). Then Monday rolled around and I packed my things up to go back to UNCW.
That's about it as far as the trip itself is concerned, but the feelings I experienced this weekend were rather new to me. Like I said earlier, I don't think you can get a real appreciation for what home is until you've been away for a while, and I definitely appreciated it this weekend. Home has always felt familiar. After all, it's where I've lived for the past eighteen years. But this weekend there was this strange warmth tied to the familiarity, almost like listening to a song that you haven't heard in ages. Every corner of the house, every painting on the wall, every crack in the ceiling, all seemed new and old at the same time. I found myself noticing things that I really hadn't seen before, like how pretty the morning light is coming through the living room window, or how good our tap water tastes, or how comfortable our couch is. It was a beautiful thing, but I wasn't too sad about leaving, either. I was saddened by the fact that, sooner rather than later, I wouldn't be calling that place home anymore.
Anyway, sorry to ramble. I'm very tired right now. There is one thing I've been thinking about, though. It's often said that heaven will feel like home. Now I understand what that means, and I'm looking forward to it.