‘Home is where the heart is’ just one of those clichéd old sayings that everyone says at some point, without actually giving the meaning much thought. I like to give these clichés some thought occasionally, my enquiring mind makes me do it, to just do some good old soul searching, and to think about what such a saying or phrase means to me personally.
This particular one came to mind when saying goodnight to my teenage daughter. We had decided to ‘camp out’ in the living room and watch movies on the pull-out sofa bed. She’d gathered all her bedclothes and was setting about making herself comfortable when I noticed a small piece of blue patterned fabric amongst all the duvets and pillows.
Her ‘snuggly’ she’d called it, from the age of about 2. It had been a sarong-style skirt of mine that I used to wear in summer months and she had loved the feel of the soft fabric, and had also enjoyed hiding underneath it when having a shy moment at that age. It wasn’t long until the skirt was no longer mine and she had adopted it as her own. She would shelter underneath it when she wanted to ignore the world, she would snuggle it under her arm and up to her face, when she felt sleepy or threatened even. She slept with it of course and there came a point when there would be a mass panic if it couldn’t be found at bedtime. It was ripped in two so she could have one with her at all times and one waiting for her in bed. Of course, over the years it became just a mere strip of fabric.
Anyway, I digress. What struck me, was how even at 14 years old, she still found comfort in a little piece of fabric that had sheltered her through so many bad moments in her life. I didn’t even realise that she still had it and I found it comforting myself, to know that my daughter, sensitive soul that she is, but teenage girl nonetheless, still had that child in there somewhere who gained comfort from this rag. Because actually, that is what it is, it looks like something you would see dangling from a tree at the roadside. But it’s her rag, her comfort, her little piece of ‘home’. It’s a personal thing too I guess, something that no one else has, and that I find comforting too, (it’s a mum thing) because I share that knowledge of her comfort and the memories of all the times it has contented her.
So then I got to thinking about how home itself, is like a security blanket or a ‘snuggly’. I spend quite a bit of time in my little house. I call it home but it doesn’t belong to me, I rent it from the local council, it’s not much but it is my ‘home’. This pile of concrete on this road full of other almost identical piles of concrete is where my daughter and her older brother grew up. This is where we have lived for the last decade. It’s our ‘base-camp’ it’s where we are drawn back to each time we go away. It’s where our heart’s are.
I have called other places home in my life and I have struggled with the concept of home itself; about belonging somewhere, not really feeling that anywhere really, ever. You see I’ve never felt able to call a town or village itself ‘home’. I have never found somewhere that made me say ‘here is where I want to stay for the rest of my days.’
I used to feel it was where my family were. My Mum and my Brother live in a village 15 miles away, I lived there too once and had many friends there also. There was a time when I wanted to be there more than anything, not now though, all my friends have moved to other towns and villages and we are scattered all over the place now. My best friends all live spread within a 20 mile radius (all in different directions!) so do I want to move to where they are? No. I’ve lived here in Padstow for 12 years now, that’s the longest time I’ve spent anywhere in my entire life, so is this home? Have I settled somewhere by accident without even realising? – There is a story behind that, it was almost an accident – I never actually chose to move here, the decision was kind of made for me. I do love it here though, it is a beautiful place as I think I’ve mentioned (and pictured) in previous blog posts. Perhaps fate, the universe, or some spiritual guide has placed me here and here is where I’ll stay. Who knows? I’m Okay with that.
So back to that saying I mentioned before ‘home is where the heart is’ it made me realise whilst analysing the cliché with that enquiring mind of mine, that it’s true. It doesn’t matter about the town or city or village or wherever you dwell, that is irrelevant. Its home, the real concept of it, not the bricks and mortar, or even the furniture inside but what you create there – the emotions, the feelings, the heartache, the laughter, the trauma, the fun, the boredom, the happiness, the meaningful parts in all our souls that make us stay together, that make us love each other and sometimes hate each other, the bits that make us care. That’s what home is and that’s where my heart is.
Of course wherever I am in the world, I take my heart. Whichever pile of concrete I dwell in at any given time, there it is with me, my heart; my home.