What Makes a House a Home?

If this is where we eat, laugh, fight, sleep, then why doesn’t it feel like home?

My family and I have lived with my grandparents for eleven years. I share a room with my two sisters, and my parents share one with my brother.

This is the house where we eat, laugh, fight, sleep, and do everything one typically does in a home. Only it doesn’t matter that the closet is filled with my clothes, that our room is decorated to our liking, or that I watch the television downstairs.

This house is not my home.

I’ve heard my grandma utter the words this is your home several times, and yet, I’ve never considered it one. I’ve always thought of this house as a long stop before catching the next train to our home.

When someone asks me where I live, I don’t just tell them where. I tell them I live with my grandparent’s.

It doesn’t matter that the cabinets in the kitchen are filled with our food, that the upstairs bathroom is ours, or that our mail arrives here.

This house is not our home.

Which begs the question, what makes a house a home?

People always say it’s the people that make a house a home.

My family and I are close. When we first moved into my grandparent’s house, the six of us, including my newborn baby brother, shared a small room.

Later, we switched with my grandparent’s since their room was bigger.

You could say that our literal closeness forced us to become closer, emotionally, and relationship-wise, but I don’t think that’s true.

If it’s the people that make a house a home, then I would’ve called this place a home years ago.

I think hundreds of other families could be in our situation and come out hating each other’s guts.

If it’s the people that make a house a home, then I would’ve called this place a home years ago.

What made all the difference was my parent’s honesty and openness. They told us what was going on with our money, why we hadn’t moved out, and they planned with my sisters and me.

They openly cried and showed their stress about living here. It helped me be open about our situation. So, every little thing we’ve gone through and talked about has made us close.

I love them more than anything.

People always say it’s the people that make a house a home. Maybe that’s true in some cases, but if I told you that was true for us, we’d be lying.

If it’s the people that make a house a home, then I would’ve called this place a home years ago. I know they’d agree with me.

The house was remodeled a few years ago. My grandparents turned an old house into something more modern.

We had some say. We decided what would replace the blue carpet upstairs, and we helped choose the new kitchen table and couches. We painted our rooms as we liked, and even the sink and toilet upstairs were new.

I thought the process of redesigning would make this house feel more like home. It ended up only looking like a different version, but it still held the same feeling.

Everything new about the house, they were ultimately things we wouldn’t choose for ourselves, and we were reminded once again — this house is not our home.

But it’s not the furniture you choose or the way a house looks that makes a home either. If it were, then I could call my room home. But it’s not.

It’s just a room.

Ever since we lost our first home and came here, the plan was to leave.

We moved out for a year and a half in 2012, but then lost that home and had to come back. Once again, the plan we to get out.

Every day is a day closer to us leaving, and maybe that’s one of the biggest reasons this place will never feel like home.

We’ve never planned on staying. There’s always a home in the horizon, that one goal to reach. How could this not feel like a stop when you’re always looking to go somewhere new?

I have one foot inside this house, and another outside, just waiting for someone to yell Go! so I can get out of here. I’m not getting comfortable.

I want a space of our own.

I want my mom to be able to decorate her home with everything she’s dreamed of (she loves interior design). I want my dad to have his own office.

I want my sister to have a kitchen where the oven works so she can bake. I want my brother to have a room to scream in when he plays his video games without being told to stop.

I want my second sister to have a section in her room dedicated to her art and supplies. And I want a place where I can write in peace.

I want all the things that would make a house home.

I think that’s what makes a home. It’s when you know you’re not going to up and leave. It’s when you know you’re going to stay this time — for real.

Perhaps military families would disagree. Maybe some of them are experts at making a house they’ll only be in for three to four years a home, but this is what I believe.

It’s what I choose to believe.

It’s what I need to believe.

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