Home is where the heart is

Just a few months shy of my 13th birthday I returned to Czechoslovakia (as it was still known then) for the first time since my parents and I left four years earlier. I returned alone. I was often asked questions like:

"Do you feel Czech or American?"

"Where do you feel at home?"

Even as child, I sensed the questions were a set-up of sorts. The inquisitors must have known there are no simple answers. Still, when faced with inquiry, one probes one's internal space and strives to supply a coherent reply, if not for the inquisitor, at least for oneself.

The most satisfying one I arrived at was this: "Where my parents are, that is home."

It felt simple and honest. At least until I was 18 or so.

In the time Tom and I were trying to start our own family, those words returned to me, sometimes hauntingly. I felt how true they were: that love for family is the essence of home.  Now Helenka is almost one year old. Forgetting and forgiving their obviousness, now those words seem brilliant FOR their simplicity and truth. What surprises me about them is how much truer that phrase is now that I am a parent. Home is where the heart is. And the heart is in love with my husband and daughter. And where they are, home is.