On Lake Winneconne, Wisconsin

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Every time I open the squeaky screen door to my grandparent’s lake cottage, I feel a little bit like I am stepping back in time. Part of me feels like I’m ten years old again. When I open the pantry closet, I find the typical bonanza of junk food and treats – licorice, salt water taffy, and Cheetos. I quickly put on my swimsuit and dip my toes in the water off the end of the dock. I want to forget about deadlines and bedtimes and sunscreen.

Last week, my kids and I made a mid-week trip up to Wisconsin for a few days. Living near Chicago now, and being the only family member who does not live within a 30 mile radius of my childhood home, gives my visits back to Wisconsin a certain homecoming quality. There are dinners with fancy cupcakes. People change their plans so that we can be together. Bedtimes are thrown out the window. Eager offers are made to spend time with the boys.

And it feels good – so good – to have this homecoming. I miss my Wisconsin home – and my family and friends who still live there – immensely, with a mix of fierce longing and rose-tinted nostalgia. It feels good to be welcomed back home, to be wanted, to feel comfortable in the familiar.

I am blessed and lucky to have a jobs – first and foremost as a stay-at-home parent and second as a freelance writer – that give me the freedom to travel on a whim, to take off in the middle of the week to spend a few days with family at the lake. My husband, on the other hand, is not so lucky. He works unbearably long hours at a stressful job so that the boys and I are able to take these trips back home. He sacrifices for us and I know that. So, while it feels good to be back in familiar territory, to spend time with extended family, to be mothered a little instead of constantly mothering, there is a certain heaviness to the visits as well.

And as good as the homecoming in Wisconsin feels, he is where home is.

Our welcome home in Chicago
Our welcome home in Chicago

Where do you call home? What makes it home?



  1. I wish I had a home like that to return to. However, I’m in a place where it feels like my husband is my home, wherever we are, so in that respect we are lucky.

  2. And WI misses you!!! Home truly is where the heart is isn’t it? I have found that I can put up with a lot of stuff as long as I look forward to going home.

    • Christie Reply

      Aww, thanks, Lori. I’m looking forward to football season so that I can see you all more 🙂

  3. I feel that way every time I go to Pittsburgh to visit my parents. All my memories are there, and it is the home of my heart, no matter how far away I move.

    • Christie Reply

      You know, it’s funny. When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to get out of there and now I fantasize about going back. Funny how that works out, huh?

  4. I have a post I started but haven’t finished about this same topic. There is nothing better than returning to our first, familial home. I have been blessed to have all my family (parents, brother, grandparents, etc) all in the same town. I can see them on a random Tuesday evening just as easily as on a major holiday. And there is nothing more comforting than that feeling of home that settles in my bones the minute I walk through their door. Not only am I mothered a bit, but my kids are grandmother’ed and grandfather’ed and that is something so special that I could never give them. The pressure to be perfect, eat perfect, parent perfect, wife perfect go out the door as soon as I enter theirs. I feel at home, accepted and known. Thank you for sharing your experience of Home.

    • Christie Reply

      Vicky, I have to admit that I’m rather jealous that you live so close to your family. I find myself wishing that I lived close by more and more, especially when my husband is working long hours like right now. I am so luck though that I have the freedom to just take off and go back home whenever I want or need to. It’s only a 3 hour drive so its manageable and my husband is very supportive of all of my visits back home, even though I know he’s lonely without us.

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