I am reminded of this scene from Almost Famous, one of my favorite movies, of which the subject of home becomes the topic of conversation. Patrick Fugit’s character has been on tour with a band for almost year. He yearns to be home where he knows everything and everyone. He no longer wants to be living on a tour bus going from city to city. He just wants to be with his mom. With these thoughts running through the mind of Patrick Fugit’s character, he says to Kate Hudson’s character in a tone of desperation, “I want to go home.” Kate Hudson’s character responds, “Poof! You are home.”
I thought a lot about this scene because I spent my Christmas Eve with the older girls that I work with. We ate a big lunch and then opened presents. The girls showed their presents to one another as well as the tias. They looked carefully through their stockings which was filled with candy, socks, underwear, and rubber bands for their hair. Once the candy was discovered, each girl immediately began to eat the candy. I then was able to swindle a piece of candy from certain girls by asking if there was anything for me inside their stocking. It was a great trick. I think that I learned that from my dad. Since the girls had eaten too much at lunch, we drank tea and ate cookies for dinner. After dinner, the girls did their chores and we watched Christmas movies. Once the movies finished, I began putting the younger girls to bed. The older girls did not need my help. When I was putting each of the younger girls to bed, I kissed all of the younger girls on the cheek and said, “Merry Christmas!” With the older girls, I said “Merry Christmas” and gave a hug to each one. All of the girls though responded in the same manner by saying, “Merry Christmas, tia!” and giving me a hug.
When I putting each girl to bed, I thought about what does it mean to be at home. What are the characteristics of being at home for someone? Is it your friends and family? Is it having all that is familiar to you like certain smells, different landmarks, a favorite grocery store in which you know like the back of your hand, or driving past a certain street and memories begin to pour into your mind? Is it having particular traditions that your family has? What exactly is it that makes a place home for someone?
For me, it is the feeling that I am surrounded by people that love me. It is a love that accepts me no matter what I have done or not done, what I have said or not said, how I comfort a crying child. It is an unconditional love. I am constantly reminded of this love when I laugh at a comment that one of the girls or tia just said. I spill hot water on my shirt by accident and then shout, “hot, hot, really hot.” I am trying to cool my shirt by dancing in quite a silly fashion. The girls and tias laugh at my facial expressions when I don’t have the Spanish words to convey what I want to say. So, this unconditional love is very much present whenever I am with the girls. However, it was a lot stronger on Christmas Eve because they took me in and made me part of their family. I am part of their lives. I am wanted here. I am needed here. I am home.