That address is the one that, no matter where I live, I will always consider "home."
I was in Arlington Heights last week and I truly felt at home. Sure, some things will always be changing in and around my parents' house on Mueller Street (just because it's in the historic neighborhood doesn't mean it's a static environment), but there's a certain stability and consistency with that house which I find very comforting. Keith summed it up well. He asked mom where the masking tape was, as he was opening the cabinet door of the kitchen hutch. The same moment mom was telling him, "It's where it's always been--the bottom shelf of the hutch," Keith's hand emerged from the space, grasping the masking tape. We all started laughing. Keith exclaimed, "Nothing ever changes in this house. I love it!"
My room, even though it's technically not mine anymore, still kind of feels that way. However, Annabelle was eager to point out the change. She asked where the board games were because she wanted to play Sorry. After she had checked the sunporch, I told her, "I think I saw it up in my room, Annabelle." She asked me, with a quizzical look, "Which one's your room, Auntie Ruth?" As I pointed upstairs and began to describe it she quickly interrupted to say, "Oh. You mean my room. OK." And with that, she scurried upstairs. I was a little taken aback until I realized that, yes, that room is the one she and Anthony use when they spend the night at Grandma Jane's house.
Things change but, in a way, they stay the same.
On Tuesday night, when Grandma and Grandpa Kofoed, and Marlene and her family came over for dinner, it felt so comfortable and familiar. The evening was casual, warm, inviting, and laid back. The Cubs game was on in the living room, the kids were playing in the yard, and people wandered between the back patio, the garage, and the kitchen. Even though I haven't been part of a gathering like that at our house since Christmastime, it felt as normal to me as something that happens every week. Plain and simple, I felt at home. My parents, my grandparents, my siblings, and my neices and nephew make it feel that way. They are the key to making the house at 402 W. Mueller a place that is home to me.
While I am so grateful to be able to venture out and make a life for myself here in Colorado, I am equally blessed to have a place to go back to which will always feel like home.