By Susan Willcocks
I have been constantly questionning the concept of 'home' ever since we moved out of the house in which my sisters and I grew up. It was the last place the whole family lived together. Is that what made it home?
A year later, it was time for me to head out to the city. Montreal certainly didn't feel like home. Not at first anyway.
For quite a while, I referred to the town in which I grew up (and its surroundings) as 'home'. Rawdon was home. Chertsey was home.
Sometimes Montréal felt like home.
Sometimes it didn't.
My dad left Rawdon one day; he went to live closer to his parents out west. I went to visit him twice. Both times, I was surprised by how he makes any place feel like home.
Maybe home isn't a place. Maybe it's a person.
My dorm at sleep-away camp was, at one point, the place that made me feel most at home. Maybe it was because of the people I was living with - like it had been before the first big move.
Maybe home isn't a place. Maybe it's a feeling.
Then it was time to set out on a new adventure. I headed east to a few temporary homes by the ocean. Prince-Edward-Island felt like home.
In a way, I grew up there. It was where I put myself back together after a rough year, where I learned to stand on my own again.
Maybe home isn't a place. Maybe it's a lesson.
As I go from place to place, the buildings and decor change. Though each of these many homes have something in common: all are occupied by people I love and all show traces of their presence. Some are cleaner than others, but none are immaculate. They each have their own over-full shelf in a closet somewhere, their own stack of dirty laundry and their fair share of misplaced everyday items.
I still can't say what exactly 'home' is. I have, however, come to the conclusion that it doesn't have to be a singular term - we can have multiple homes. I certainly have been blessed with a few.
Now, Montréal is home. But so is Rawdon, so is Chertsey. Prince-Edward-Island will always be home too.
Maybe home isn't a specific place. Maybe it's each of those special ones that brought me to who I am today.