A house for (nearly) every year of my life

I’ve lived in 29 different houses.

Yes. You read that right…

29 houses, from what I can remember – I may be missing some.

Some homes hold more memories than others – good and bad. Some of them hold no memories whatsoever. They are but a blur in my mind. I had to think really hard to remember some of them, which proves I’ve either blocked them out or maybe it just wasn’t a significant part of my being.

I’ve never established roots anywhere. No home has been distinct and permanent in my life. Each home had a kitchen, and a bathroom, and bedrooms. You know, typical homes and apartments. I could personalize the space with little touches, like paint or pictures on the walls. When it comes to home towns: Alliston occupies a total of 8 years of my life altogether, thus being the town where I’ve spent the most time living.

Some homes were more “home-y” than others, and some were just downright dumpy. I remember one home; the rent was incredibly cheap. It was next to a plaza, and we were so close to the road. In the summer time it would smell like cigarette smoke from the passer-bys while we tried to keep cool with the windows open. Sometimes we would find used needles in our yard – our yard where the kids would play. We even had our tires slashed one night. This place was a house. It had bedrooms and a bathroom and walls. It never felt like a home…

What makes a house a home?

Memories. You make the best of it with memories. By setting up a Christmas tree and opening gifts around it on Christmas morning. By setting up your son’s first “big boy bed” in it. You plant a garden, you get your first dog, and you get engaged in this home.

The house doesn’t define you – it’s the people you share it with and the memories you make during that specific period of your life. I may have lived in shit box houses, but life still races by you – whether you live in a basement apartment, in your own home, or in a rented room. Life still happens.

I don’t own the house I’m in now – we rent. And we’ve made some pretty good memories in it. Baby number four was born here – I laboured and birthed her in our bedroom (she was a home birth by choice…) and in that same bedroom I’ve nursed her, cuddled her when she was sick, I’ve watched cartoons with all the kids sprawled out on the bed in that room. In that home. But is it the home that makes it special? Or just the memories we happened to make there during that time period?

Up until this point I’ve been hell bent on buying. I want to plant roots for my kids. I want them to have a home base that they can come back to, even when they are older. I want them to have something I was never able to have as a child.

But maybe they don’t need a home? Maybe all kids need are memories. They need loving arms to make them feel safe and secure. They need a place to express themselves freely, and people to accept them for who they are.

Homes are not walls.

Homes are are the spaces you hold in someone’s heart.

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