Yesterday, I came home. To Ohio. I confuse friends and family quite often when I refer to both Wisconsin and Ohio as "home." But really, both are home.
My mum lives in the same house I grew up in. We moved in when I was 5, so she's lived here 42 years. I lived here for 17 years. And though I only visit 2-3 times a year, I still have it memorized. I can walk through the house in the dark and easily find my way around. I know which steps are creaky. I know just where to set the heat vent in the guest room so it's the perfect temperature. The house isn't "just a house" - it is home. But it also wouldn't be home without my mum.
Since the accident, I've been unsteady. I didn't just want to visit home, I needed to visit home. And from the moment I walked in the back door, I could feel myself becoming steady again. Turning the knob on the back door was familiar. Walking through the house to find mum was familiar. Mum's reaction to my surprise was exactly what I expected. Her hug was an anchor that made me feel grounded for the first time in weeks.
Later today - siblings, spouses, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, partners - a whole house full of people will pause for a moment and give thanks for the many, many blessings we share. This house, this home will creak and sigh under the weight of food and drinks and laughter. In its own way, it will provide a steady place for us to celebrate, keeping us warm and safe and protected.
I'm so thankful to be home.