Home is Somewhere Close: Meditations on Home, Community and Family

When I finish writing this I will probably grab some food and then stop by my childhood home and take things in one last time. My parents lived in that same house for the last two decades. 

By the time that this is published I will be situated a few hours north of Waterloo in a small town near Grand Bend. I am going there to help my parents unpack their belongings and move some couches around. All that fun stuff.

In what seems like an instant, the place where I built my identity will change hands from my parents to a set of brothers who intend to split the house in half and make use of the convenient seperate entranceways. The place that I have always called home will become a touchstone for new memories that I can sadly not claim as my own.

Damn, here come the waterworks.

We really put off these kinds of feelings because it hurts to dwell, especially when not much can be done to soften the blow. My parents swiftly sold their house a couple of months ago and at that point we agreed that we wouldn’t get worked up about things before we had to. Let’s make it an elusive thought, if we can.

As sad as change can feel, change offers us at the very least a new perspective. A new way to look at the world and the life we have made and the friends that surround us. A new way to look at the community that shapes our values and our instincts and our taste in post-modern literature.

Suffice to say that a lot has changed in the past couple of years, but let’s spare the details.

Seeing your childhood home change hands stirs up some weird feelings. I am grateful for the stability reflected by my experience but then I sort of crumble at the thought of someone else calling this really personal space home.

Making an effort to challenge these pervasive reocurring thoughts is as exhausting as locating the meaningful in the mundane. But reflecting on what really matters helps you identify a path forward.

And here we go…this rumination was not supposed to be cheesy. That was the simple request I recieved right before I started to write. 

But it’s all about the right ratio on the right pizza from the right restaurant. Cheese has its place, you know, just like the rest of us—and here is the part where I say it, “My place is KW.”

Quit while you’re ahead.

There is a scene in the movie Joe Dirt where an ancillary character tells Joe that home is where you make it. This is straightforward, corny, but it does apply here very well. To elaborate on that, home is not a phyiscal space but instead a feeling evoked under the right circumstances.

At the core of every “home” is a community. A family. A group of people who put their differences aside and bond over something  that is sacred and intimate.

 The prompt that started this article was, “what did we learn in 2021.” I can’t speak for this publication at large but I’ve learned that community is crucial. Because after my parents move away and I can no longer return to my childhood haunt, I know that there is at least one chosen place that I can go back to. A place that has welcomed me with open arms and helped make the person that I am. That was cheesy.

It is only more fitting that you are reading this under the banner of The Community Edition. When I moved first moved to Waterloo, it was this publication that taught me more about the city I would soon endearingly refer to as my home. It opened doors to new places and gave me connections to people I would not have met under other circumstances. Ultimately, The Community Edition helped me cultivate the sense of belonging and understanding that I carry with me to this day.

I can now see that path forward in the faces of my friends and my coworkers and my colleagues and all of the other connections I’ve been able to foster in this beautifully flawed community.

I can’t wait until my parents get settled in so that I can bug them and raid their cupboards and scare them with hyperbolic bullshit. But when it’s time to leave, to go back home, I know the destination. The same way that Google Maps does.