When I was single, I used to take memoir writing classes and I truly loved them. I really felt like I was in my element. I was lucky to have some amazing teachers who inspired us to tell our stories. One of my favorite writing assignments to help get the creative juices flowing was a ten minute free write answering this question:
What is home?
We were instructed to describe what home felt, looked, smelled, tasted and sounded like to us. At the time, I wrote about the three most important people in my heart: my ma, daddy and my baby sis. Years later and now happily married, I placed this writing piece on our refrigerator as a reminder of my “home.” However, every time I grab something from the fridge, I am reminded that there is one key person missing from this description: Mr. ShuGar. I have been meaning to amend it these past couple of years, but I just haven’t found the time. Now that I have been blogging, I thought it would be nice to share it and also add Mr. ShuGar to the piece.
As I mentioned previously, we are currently visiting Mr. ShuGar’s family in Michigan. Mr. ShuGar is originally from Michigan and left when he graduated high school to pursue his film career in California. Just before we left on our trip, Mr. ShuGar’s sweet sister wanted to know how it feels for her brother to go “home” after having left all these years. Of course, Mr. ShuGar returns “home” almost every year, but he now has a new home in LA. It must be hard to uproot yourself at such a young age to pursue your dreams in a strange city miles away from your loved ones. I have mad respect for Mr. ShuGar’s drive and determination to create a new home far, far away. This Michigan trip got me thinking of what constitutes a “home.” Is it the physical location? The memories? Your family? Your heart? Maybe it’s a combination of all the above.
Home is the smell of my ma’s cooking on a breezy afternoon. The rainbow blend of the oregano, paprika, chiles, peppers and lemon sing to my soul. They call me home. The vision of my barely-five-feet-tall mom slaving in the kitchen after her full time job to feed her family brings home to me. Her fogged-up glasses stirring the pots and pans filled with a variety of dishes, Mexican and non-Mexican. Her salt-and-pepper hair glistening within her reddish-yellowish kitchen. My ma’s raspy voice in Spanish yelling to us, “Venganse a cenar” (Come and eat dinner) brings me straight to her heart.
Home is my dad asking about the electronic and mechanical devices in my life. “Mi hijita (My little daughter), did you check the oil in your car?” “How’s the water in the car?” Mi hijita, how is the remote-controlled light I installed working out?” As a child, I never understood my dad’s odd questions. But now, I realize they’re laced with love. His concerns about my car and my life living away from him are a way to bring me to him. I feel his heart reaching out to protect mine. Home is always, always being daddy’s little girl.
Home is my sister’s energy and smile. My little sis has this exuberance and zest for loving, which is contagious. Her innocence takes me home to our childhood together. The Garcia Girls playing UNO on a scorching June day watching Baywatch, while eating our weekly dose of macaroni & cheese and drinking Tang. Her beauty is intoxicating. It captures my occasional sadness and loneliness during moments of despair and takes me back to our Barbie-playing days. Home is the two of us in our own girlie world. Even now, as grown women, we are still the Garcia girls.
Home is the new world Mr. ShuGar and I have established as husband and wife. We have built it on a foundation of trust, communication and eternal love. Home is him knowing I am sad without having to see me cry or me knowing he is happy without even seeing a smile. We feel what the other person feels. I hurt when you are in pain; I celebrate when you are overjoyed. Home is our daily routine of going to our jobs, working extremely hard and being reunited at the end of the day. It’s those thirty seconds when we hug and kiss each other at our front door – nothing else exists or matters. It’s your eyes which make me melt, your touch which soothes my soul, your whisper in my ear which sends me to a heavenly place. Home is to trust you with my heart, despite how vulnerable it makes me feel. Home is our limitless love, which grows exponentially with each passing day.
Home is these four loves of my life.
Everyone’s concept of “home” is different, which is why we should cherish what we have or had. It is irreplaceable, one-of-a-kind and a blessing all neatly packaged in your heart.
Photo credit: Mrs. ShuGar