by - 9:20 PM

Home. I went home today.
I'm a proud Michigander and an even prouder Grand Rapids-ian. I will literally skip merrily to my car when I know that I am moments away from ripping open the door, rolling down the windows and shooting west on 96 while listening to Garbage or No Doubt or anyone whose music reminds me of the 90's. And home.
I have to tell you though,the minute, the very single second, that I'm within radius, I switch to my old favorite Grand Rapids radio station. Conveniently, as I passed over the Thornapple River, some good ol' Destiny's Child hit the local airwaves and I turned it up loud like I was still in seventh grade.
When I finally got there, I swung my car into my old parking spot. The rarely used turn-around still has my name on it and, like riding a bicycle, I still remember the proper geometry for a perfectly straight car in a not-so-perfectly-straight parking spot.

That home is where I grew up. Summer after summer of sweet memories. High school in an orange painted room with thick shag carpet. That place is home and it is so perfectly preserved according to every single memory I have of the place, when I step through the doors, it's like stepping though a time machine and I'm suddenly seventeen all over again. The urge to simply walk across the street, into my friend's home, was not only second nature, but also almost undeniable. Then I remembered that he grew up and moved to Arizona. Now his home is like mine: it's not. It's his parent's home.
We ain't in 2006 anymore, Toto.
When the day was done, I packed up my car and...wait for it...went home. My new home. The home that I have created with the person who also gave up home to make a new one with me.
Home is a funny thing, like people, it changes.
I guess I realized that I have many homes. Places where I feel comfortable and welcomed. Places where I can go barefoot and not be embarrassed my soles turn black. Places where I can stuff my face and eat as many cupcakes as I want without anyone looking at me funny. Places where I can fall asleep.
I made a home with my boyfriend and he brought me to one of my favorite homes: up north.
I brought my niece, Adellia, to that home this weekend and we had a blast.

Ice cream cone number one.

I was so excited to witness her first cognitively aware steps into the great Lake Michigan. Ryan thought it was hilarious to tell her that there are sharks in the water, but luckily she ignored him.

Ice cream cone number two. And the onset of a ice cream coma.

My friends, that ain't the Bahamas or Costa Rica or anywhere in the Caribbean. That's good old Michigan and its beautiful northern west coast. Thank you Jesus for plunking me down in Michigan, 'cause there ain't nowhere like it anywhere in the world.

If I were a celeb-y with a killer bod and a twitter with nothing to do but provide ego boosts, this would undoubtedly have been tweeted to my bazillion fans.
It's nice to dream.

There was another couple of unphotographed ice cream cones in between. She might be ice creamed out for a while. Then again, she might not.
The thing about home is that no matter where it is, what it looks like or how big it is, it's home because it's where love lives. I went to a boarding school and lived in a dorm for years, but it was never home. There was no real love there. On the contrary, it took only two weeks up north in a cottage with a hundred beds and even more family members to park in those beds for me to know that it was home. Love lives there.

Driving home, whipping down the streets that lead to all my old stomping grounds, that's the original and I know for certain that there is nothing that can compare or take the place of the first home. That place will always be home, but the more room you make for love in your life the more places you can call home.
You know what that means? Home isn't the house. It isn't the structure or the rooms or the yard. It's the people. Home is where your family is and whether your family is made by genetics or choice, they make a place home. Even if that place didn't have walls, with the people who belong, it's home.
I'm so fortunate to call so many places home. Up north, Grandma's, homehome, the house I live in....
Love lives there. It's home.

Home sweet home.

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