Today, I’ve been reminded of what a home is.
After my internship in St. Louis this summer didn’t conclude in a job offer, I moved back home. Regretfully, begrudgingly, kicking and screaming. My hometown is one of those towns everyone hates in high school, yet no one seems to actually leave. I’ve been determined since about age fourteen to defy the norm. To get out. So what did I do? Moved back. Because I was (a) broke, (b) unemployed and (c) homeless. (Quick shout-out to my parents for their financial, emotional, etc. support.) Let me fill you in on the booming metropolis that is my hometown.
- “The City of Tradition and Progress” and Oxymoronic Tag Lines
- Population of about 17,000 with a growth rate of 24% since 2000 (told ya, booming)
- 88.8% of population is white
- 291 residents are foreign born
- 16% of adults have a college degree
- (Personal) approximation of 7,342 churches
- Equivalent number of fast food restaurants
- At least an hour away from a Target, a shopping mall and a Starbucks
Many people here are stuck. They don’t know they are, and I think they’d be rather okay with it if they knew. It’s a nice town; voted number one place to raise your kids in Missouri in 2010. Great school district, two hospitals, plenty of activities for the kiddos.
I just don’t fit here anymore. I knew I had outgrown this town before I could legally buy scratch-offs. College, my semester studying abroad, living in St. Louis this summer. Those worked. Farmington just doesn’t work anymore. And I’m afraid if I stay here, I’ll be stuck too. I’m not looking to settle or marry or adopt a puppy or have 2.5 kids anytime soon.
But today, I was reminded that this is my home.
I was downtown with my mom, browsing a shop in the process of transitioning from Halloween to Christmas décor.
“I think I’ll want to decorate with stuff like this when I have a home,” I said, pointing to a rustic table/desk thing. “But I don’t have a home.”
My mom stopped me, turned me around, and said, “You’ll always have a home.”
What was intended to be a nonchalant comment about my current lack of permanency meant a little more to my mom. While I’ve been throwing the greatest self-pity party known to mankind these past three months, I never realized how fortunate I am to have a home. There are too many kids my age who don’t have a home to go back to. And if they do, they often don’t want to. But not for reasons comparable to my “I can’t have Starbucks every day” reasons. Reasons of broken families, destructive environments and unhealthy lifestyles. Reasons I could not possibly understand because I’ve never lived them. I’ve never once experienced what it would be like if I weren’t welcomed back home.
So as I sit in my little café in my little town, I try to wash away the bitterness I have towards this place and fill that space with gratitude. For my family. My Jesus. My home. Because, really, what else is there?
As I complained to a friend recently that I’m suffocated here, living with my parents, she replied, “We come from two completely different families. You’ll find out just how much I’d rather have it like yours very quickly.” And just like that, I’m jolted back to reality.
So thanks, mom and dad, for my home.
(Photos courtesy of @discoverfarmington on Instagram.)
Said browsed shop.
My little café.