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A theme that runs through a lot of the fiction I write is finding home in another person. Some will definitely argue that’s unhealthy, and I get that argument. If you make your home in another person, and you lose that person, now you’re metaphorically homeless. But ‘home’ to me has always been a feeling I’ve gotten from important people in my life, and never a place. The word home implies a sense of belonging and comfort and I suppose I’m at home in and with myself NOW (mostly), at 40, but boy, it took me a long time to get here to this mindset. And I still have to work on it sometimes. And there are a handful of…yes…other people…who helped me get here. I know without a doubt I wouldn’t be here, at home in and with myself, without the love and support and acceptance of those people.

The first people to give me that feeling of ‘home’ were my paternal grandparents. I was at home with myself as a little girl, but mostly only when I was with them. I felt more at home at their house than I did in the house I technically lived in, but it wasn’t because they lived in a safer or ‘nicer’ neighborhood. They lived in a little urban rowhouse with no off street parking where you could stand on your front stoop and shake your neighbor’s hand without them leaving their own front stoop. Close quarters and crowded. And where I technically lived was a more spacious, ‘newer’ suburb. And I like space. But it still felt more like home at Gramma and Grampa’s. It was the feeling of safety and acceptance and love I received in that house that made it feel like home. It was my grandparents, not their house.

Throughout my preteen, teen, and young adult years, after my grandparents passed away, I spent a lot of time grasping for little pieces of that ‘home’ feeling with other people, mostly friends and a couple of dates, because I decidedly didn’t have it at ‘home.’ But the feeling was always incomplete and fleeting, and I started to think ‘home’ was maybe a juvenile, naive, childish feeling that you could never really get back when you were better informed and more experienced. Maybe ‘home’ was just constructed delusion, like believing in the Tooth Fairy. And I bought into ‘home can’t be another person’ for sure during those years. So when I entered adulthood, I tried achievement and accumulation to find that ‘home’ feeling in and with myself. I moved out on my own. I bought the appropriate ‘stuff’ to prove maturity and independence and success. I bought my own house. And I felt like ‘home’ for *maybe* a week. I had a place…a NICE place. A nicer one than any other place I’d ever lived or felt at home before and it was ALL MINE. I was supposed to be DONE. I was supposed to feel supremely accomplished and whole and proud of myself, achieving the American Dream at a young age on my own and everything. I should have been totally at home in and with myself then. But I still didn’t really feel like home. I didn’t feel settled or ‘right.’ Not until I met J. When J moved in with me, the house I bought felt like home. And then we got married and on our first anniversary, we left that house…the one I’d worked so hard to buy on my own…and moved. A lot of people in my life (maybe even including myself, at least a little) expected me to feel this sense of nostalgic loss and maybe even resentment toward J upon abandoning something that was mine for something that was ours. For packing up ‘mine’ and dumping it all into ‘ours.’ That’s what I did. J didn’t have a house to sell and put the profits onto our new home together (he obviously contributed, but I guess people felt like my contribution was more symbolically sacrificial or something). But I never felt sad about leaving my first house. Because home is where J is. J is where I feel safe and accepted and loved.

I’ve written this feeling of home into practically every one of my books. It’s obviously a big deal to me since it’s a theme I keep on hitting, whether I begin the story intending to or not. One of the stories this theme is most pronounced in is Storm Chasing. Today’s love song I think goes with that story. It’s Don Henley’s Taking You Home. (I know. It was hard to find a YouTube of this song, so you get an old Letterman live performance. Strange.) Here are the lyrics…

I had a good life before you came
I had my friends and my freedom
I had my name
Still there was sorrow and emptiness ’til you made me glad
Oh, in this love I found strength I never knew I had
And this love is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand, love…I’m taking you home
I’m taking you home
There were days, lonely days
When the world wouldn’t throw me a crumb
But I kept on believing that this day would come
And this love is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand, love…I’m taking you home
I’m taking you-home
Where we can be with the ones who really care
Home, where we can grow together
Keep you in my heart forever
And this love is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand, love…I’m taking you home
Taking you home
And this love is like nothing I have ever known
Take my hand, love…I’m taking you home
I’m taking you home
I like the optimism in these lyrics. ‘I had a good life before you came…’
‘But I kept on believing that this day would come…’
And I like the sense of belonging and safety and pride that go with the phrase ‘taking you home.’ I think in this song it means that your person is introducing you to the things and other people in their lives who are important to them, and letting you inside of themselves so you can see ‘where they live’…their home inside themselves. And in that revelation, they feel more at home with themselves, because they let you in, and you felt at home there too. I think that fits Bridget and David in Storm Chasing. And I think it fits J and me, too.
So while I feel like I’m at home with J wherever we are…the first place we lived together…our current house…anywhere we’re traveling together, including in our RV on the road like wanderers…J isn’t actually my home. He just took me home…he let me inside, and I felt comfortable there. And I felt safe to let him inside, and he was comfortable there, so it made me more comfortable there too. J makes me feel at home with myself. He’s taken me home. And I’ve taken him home.
Storm Chasing is still on sale in ebook format for a couple more days.

 

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