What speaks home most strongly to you?

It's an interesting question, one I've been thinking about for years.

When Corey and I left Minnesota in February 1994, I shook the snow off my boots and muttered, "Good riddance!" I had my sights set on California and the ocean and the glory of year-round sunshine. I saw Minnesota as nothing but the warming box (yes, that's a joke) that allowed me to grow and mature until I was ready to greet the bigger world.

How wrong I was.

During our years in California (and yes, I'm blocking out the eight months we spent in Phoenix, because it deserves no less), I learned -- to my shock and amazement -- that Minnesota had lodged itself far deeper into my marrow than I ever realized. I started to miss the change of the seasons. I longed for some true wilderness, some place where I could see green trees and blue water and no people. I started to pounce on fellow Minnesotans whenever I found them, hoping to trade stories and wishes. "You going back for the State Fair this year? Yeah, me neither. Sure would like some Sweet Martha's cookies though. Did you ever get a whole bucket and then eat them outside of the All-You-Can-Drink Milk booth?"

It was home. I missed my home.

Eventually, as you know, Corey and I moved back to Minnesota. Moving home isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when you're not even sure you want to make that leap.

But leap we did, because we needed a job, and the only door that had opened was one in Minnesota.

And now, because we are here, I'm getting to watch as my own children get Minnesota in their DNA, just as I did when I was little.

For the rest of the story, check out my 5 Minutes for Parenting post today.

And tell me -- what speaks home most strongly to you?


  1. I miss home the most on Christmas Eve. All those years of going to church with my family, lighting the candle, singing Silent Night, going out to eat with the same two other families, going home, reading The Night Before Christmas and the story from the Bible, leaving cookies for Santa, watching a Christmas movie...those things are imprinted on my heart and I miss them insanely. I can't wait to establish some traditions with my own children.

    We don't live where I grew up, and neither do my parents anymore. It's hard not to be able to go back.

  2. I'm sure many of mine are the same as yours, like the lilacs. Tiger lilies and lily of the valley remind me of my grandma. Raspberries take me back to walking trails on the North Shore and stopping for wild raspberries every time I saw one. Grand Marais was one of our annual vacations, so the smells of Lake Superior and seagulls and damp pine forests and rivers.

    And let me tell you, we live in my hometown, and my daughter just went to kindergarten this year, and happened to have the same room I did. Walking into the school was like being 8 again!

  3. The Adirondack mountains. Especially Lake Placid. Though my home is in the foothills of the Adirondacks, I spent enough time in Placid that it feels almost more like home than home to me. I have memories around every corner (my husband is SO sick of hearing them every time we drive through).

    That, and every time I hear water lapping gently on a rocky shore I am instantly transferred back to summers at my grandparents' camp, where I fell asleep every night to the water touching the shore and the wind blowing through the pines. The camp is sold now, and I'm so sad my kids will never get to experience those sorts of summers.

    At least Lake Placid is still there.

  4. lilacs. my favorite flower. It's all I wanted in my wedding bouquet, but try and find them in August. :) they lined the yard of my first street home. The bushes were so overgrown they made a tunnel as the leaves and flowers spilled over towards the sky, then the ground. We spent countless hours running through it, and making homes among the lilacs. Whenever I'm back in spring, I always bring some by my mom.
    I should've known you would like them too!

  5. Home is the change of seasons, my mom's piano, the smell of brownies baking, and a bookshelf full of favorite books. Mainly, home is the people that we love gathered in one place.

  6. We complain a lot about how cold it is in MN, why do we live here...

    I don't think I can even imagine living anywhere else.

  7. Home to me is where I can go and be loved unconditionally. I can relax and be myself and not have to worry about others' perceptions.