I Believe Home is Wherever You’re Making Memories

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It all seems like a blur looking back on it. One minute I was
throwing my graduation cap in the air and the next minute a moving
van was driving away from the place I had called home for more than
a decade. My parents had retired and were moving to Steamboat
Springs, Colorado, a ski town they had fallen in love with years ago.

The night before I left for my freshman year of college I remember my
parents sitting with me in the room I’d grown up in. They told me I had
to get rid of everything that couldn't go with me to college—that is,
everything except what could fit in a single box. “Downsizing” is what
my mom called this specific form of torture. To me, it felt like throwing
away memories.

Much to my dismay, the move happened. When friends went home
for Thanksgiving break and other long weekends I accompanied them
because Colorado was too far to go for just a few days. It wasn’t the
same as going home though. I couldn't help but think how selfish my
parents had been. They’d sold the home we all shared for a fourth
floor condominium that felt like a vacation rental. The house in Bucks
County had meant everything to me. It was where I was picked up for
my first date and the setting of my sweet 16 party.

In the summer I would hop from one friend’s house to another, just so
I could be in my hometown. It became a running joke with my friends
that I was living out of my Green GMC Envoy.

The weeks before holiday breaks were the worst--people were
always talking about how they couldn't wait to sleep in their own beds
and see their friends. I knew none of this was a reality for me. “My
room” was now called the ‘second guest bedroom’ and I had to take an
elevator just to reach my front door.

Then something happened that made me appreciate what I have.
While at my parents’ house for break last year, the Christmas tree fell
over just as we had finished decorating it. Nearly half the ornaments
cracked on the tile. And at that moment, all I could do was laugh.
As I stared at the shards of glass on the floor, I realized something:
memories don’t crack like ornaments, and memories won’t be swept
up and discarded like the broken pieces. Material things—even a
house—can be lost, but memories live on.

It turns out I was the one being selfish all this time. I was the one that
had tunnel vision. Holidays can be wonderful wherever they are
celebrated and memories don’t become less valuable just because
you’re no longer in the place where they were created.

For the first time I was at peace with my parents’ decision.

I (finally) believe home is wherever you’re making memories.

-Mary-Kate Morrow


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