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Commentary: Where Is Home?
By Mitch Traphagen
Dec 29, 2005 - 9:36:00 PM

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Where is home to you? I wrote that by visiting family up north for Christmas I was actually leaving home for the holidays. But I wrote that article before the trip was complete — and therefore the story may not have been complete.

Perhaps the land of my childhood — the things that have all come together to shape my life into what it is — is indeed home. Or, perhaps, it is my little house in Florida that represents so many of Michelle's and my dreams.

On the last night of our trip north we stayed with my sister and her family. Like us, they have recently moved — in their case into a new home in a city a distance away from their old home. Their boys are struggling a bit in making the adjustment to a new environment and new friends. My sister and her husband may be as well — after all, where is home to them? Is home their beautiful new house in their new town or is it back in the previous town — a place they called home for so many years — a place that contains a virtual lifetime of memories for them?

Like my sister and her husband, like Michelle and me, thousands of people in Florida right now probably don't know where home truly is. The migration that is fueling the incredible growth of South Hillsborough is also, in all likelihood, pulling family and friends apart as people leave one place (home) for a new life here in paradise.

As I said, I wrote the story before the trip was complete. And now, having spent time again with my mom, sisters and brother, having seen the incredible changes a year can bring to my nephews, having enjoyed their company and our indestructible common bond — I am left to wonder if this isn't home after all.

Perhaps the answer lies in the moment. Right now, surrounded by the love and good feelings of my family, I am home. In a few days, surrounded by my friends and wife in Florida, I will be home. That old saying, "Home is where the heart is," couldn't be more true. Home is not so much a physical structure as it is a place to feel safe, comfortable and loved.

For 2006, I wish you all home.

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