“Home” is probably one of the most potent words in the English language. Webster’s defines it as a place where one resides, but it is so much more than that. English is the most rich and diverse of all the languages. Neither French nor Spanish can differentiate between a house and a home, and yet we realize there is quite a chasm between the two.
English has several phrases to capture the difference between the two words. “There’s no place like home.” “To feel at home.” “Home is where the heart is.” That particular phrase has probably been cross-stitched more often than any other with the exception of “Home Sweet Home”.
If we are sad and lonely and we long to be with those we love the most, we say we are homesick.
A new use of the word can be heard in wedding vows. “You are my home.” It is more than a place; it is a feeling of utter comfort and love. It is where we feel most loved and accepted.
In sports there is the visiting team which always sounds formal and dependent upon someone’s polite hospitality. And then there is the home team. Ahhh, these are the people we know. These are the people we are rooting for.
Several years ago my family found a different use of the phrase home team. We found that we had our own home team, and I’m not talking about sports. Let me explain.
When our daughter was in 4th grade, her headaches became more frequent and more severe. After visiting several doctors, who each in turn scared us a little more, we found out she would need a spinal tap, a lumbar puncture. Neither phrase did anything to ease our anxiety.
Because she was a child, she would be sedated as it was explained to us. The very nature of the procedure made it imperative that she remain reclined for several hours afterward to avoid the side effect of a severe headache.
A friend of mine, we’ll call her Julie for the sake of this story, immediately switched into gear. She offered her family’s brand new Honda Pilot for us to drive uptown on skinny roads in the middle of the crazy Charlotte rush hour, to allow our daughter to remain supine on the ride back. When we arrived home afterwards, she showed up on our doorstep with a meal and a little surprise for Madison.
Later I would explain to our daughter that sometimes you get lucky enough to have someone on your home team. Someone who steps up, someone who goes above and beyond, someone who roots for you. Everyone needs a home team, and we had gotten very lucky in having Julie as ours.
Many years have passed since that incident, and we have been reminded time and again that she’s on our home team. And now Julie and her family are moving away from Charlotte. I am going to miss seeing her, talking to her and laughing with her, and I have to admit maybe what I'm feeling is a little homesick.