What We Mean By “Home”

Erin Ward
Erin Ward
Published on July 30, 2019

We use the word “home” willy-nilly and with some degree of carelessness. It’s where we land at the end of a long day. The building that holds our stuff. The address where the bills and demands on our time and finances are delivered. If we’re sentimental, it’s where we raise our kids or fur babies or build a life together with someone we love.

“Home” carries with it the weight of permanency for the civilian world. Non-military families may not move as often as they buy new underwear like it feels like we do. Except under certain circumstances, they typically don’t need to differentiate between a “for-now home” and a “forever home.” And that’s something PCSing families can’t say.

We live where we’re sent, and we bloom where we’re planted…or resist but survive until we’re sent somewhere else to call home. Maybe we see a great big adventure with each change in zip code. Maybe we look at what’s lacking where we currently find ourselves and fantasize about what that forever home of the future looks like. Maybe we’ve got a countdown calendar and a bucket list already in the works. We share the journey with other military families, but we each have our own feelings about and experiences of the trip.

Home for us is where we land — for now, Hampton Roads. Where we store our stuff — until we need to pack and move it again. Where the mail arrives (sometimes, when they don’t mess up the change of address order) — until we have to forward it again. Home is where the bus drops off and picks up the kids — until we need to change their schools. Where our job sends our paystubs — until we need to find another source of employment. In ways large and small, home is a very temporary situation and designation.

But home is also somehow forever as well, even when we know that we’ll again — sooner rather than later — be leaving where it feels like we’ve just settled in. It’s another license plate (and driver’s license) to add to the ever-growing collection. It’s new foods we embrace in our weekly meal planning. It’s colorful new expressions and mannerisms and appropriated (in a good way) traditions and habits. It’s new photos in the scrapbooks and destinations we might not have otherwise ever seen or experienced.

Home is the strangers who become friends and the friends who become family. The community that welcomes us when we arrive and sheds tears as we depart. The people and places that cheer for us as we thrive and hold us as we struggle.

Home for us is not a single address you can pop into your GPS. It’s the sum total of all the places we’ve been and those we’ve yet to travel. The people who’ve been there for us and those we have yet to meet. It’s not a place at one point in time but the accumulation of all the minutes we’ve shared on this military family trip.

And when we one day find ourselves in that forever home, sure, we’ll fill it with the stuff we’ve moved too many times before. But we’ll also fill it with the memories of a lifetime and a village that may not share geography but wraps us in love.

The HRVA Homes team is always available to help you feel at home as fast as possible here in Hampton Roads. Every Friday we upload a blog with a list of local events in the seven cities to help you get to know the area and get out of the house. As active members of our community, we are always up to date with general area information. If you have any questions or need help settling into the area please feel free to reach out to any member on the team, or feel free to call our CEO, Erin, directly at 757-303-2367.

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