This past week I was lucky enough to have some time to myself on a beach in Florida. During this time I sat down on a rock, waves lapping at my feet, and I thought about how very thankful I am for all the blessings in my life. And as the sun glistened on the water I realized that although I am thankful for hundreds of things and for many wonderful people in my life, at the very top of my list of what I am very most grateful for are my three homes.
Yes, I am incredibly blessed to have three homes. Three gorgeous strong supportive homes that I would not trade for anything in the world. Three homes who celebrate me when I am happy, hold me when I am sad, surround me through hardship and embrace me for exactly who I am.
These homes are not made of brick and mortar. They are not made of glass or stone. They cannot be demolished or ruined by storm. The foundation of these homes is deeper, stronger and unconditional. You see I am talking about homes, not houses.
Home to me is when I truly come home. Home to me doesn’t mean there needs to be walls or a roof, beds or couches. Homes to me are the places where I can be Kristy Sands and only Kristy Sands. The places I am welcomed with open arms and loved absolutely no matter what, unconditionally. The places I feel happy and at peace and welcomed always.
My first home is my mom and dad. I am one of the few and lucky to have and to have always had an absolutely amazing relationship with my parents. This past week I had a rare opportunity to spend five full days alone with my mom and dad and it was beyond wonderful. When I walked out of the airport there was my dad waiting with open arms. When I arrived at their house right when I walked in the door I saw a “Welcome Home Kristy” sign that my mom had made with a heart over the i, just like when I was a young girl.
It was this sign written in my favorite color that I thought of on the beach that really made me think. I was not coming home to my childhood house. I was not coming home to a dwelling. I was coming home to my mom and dad. A home for me always and forever no matter where they are. No matter where I am. When I am with them I am home and when I am away from them I can come home to them any time I need or want to.
In the room I stayed in my mom had put fresh gardenias from their yard in a vase and another vase of gardenias in the bathroom. Every single morning my dad had a Starbucks waiting for me in the kitchen when I woke up. Every night before bed I received two big hugs and was told “I love you.” And during the hours in between I was doing things with two of the people I love most in the world while we talked, laughed and even got teary a couple times as we caught up on everything and reminisced. I was completely spoiled, completely loved and completely home.
My second home is the one that is a part of me every single day, Craig and our girls. Without these four people I absolutely would not be who I am as their support and love is essential to me being my true self and thriving as my true self. These four have seen me cry, seen me drunk, seen me naked, seen me yell, seen me make bad jokes (and good jokes?), seen me be goofy, seen me be unreasonable, seen me be emotional, seen me be a total mamma bear, seen me be unkind, seen me be loving, seen me talk to Spirits and Angels, seen me have melt-downs, seen me whacked out on drugs after a surgery, seen me swear, seen me be loyal, seen me be a daughter, a mom, a wife, a sister and a friend, seen me make mistakes and seen me do things I am proud of. And they love me for all these things even though sometimes they may be a tiny bit embarrassed of me (or very embarrassed of me!) But at the end of the day, every day, I know I can come to these four and be loved no matter what, no matter when, no matter why. If we are at our house in Colorado, traveling elsewhere in the world or even if we are apart, these four are my home always and forever and that will never change. I love them every bit as much as they love me, (if not more!).
And when I returned from my trip to my parents back to this home, guess what was waiting for me at the door when I walked in the door? Another sign, this time one that my daughter Ashley made that said: “Welcome home Mommy!” and was surrounded by balloons. And not even two seconds in the door I was embraced by all four of them in a huge family hug with our dog Dillon whining in the middle. What could be better? Home sweet home.
My third home took me a long time to find. Years of trials and tribulations. Truly, years! This is because this home isn’t built on flesh and blood. This home is mortgaged on loyalty and learning and I had to do a lot of remodeling and redesigning until I found exactly what I needed and wanted. This third home is my best and dearest friends. FINALLY after years and years I can say I have friends who are “home.” Friends I can count on no matter what, friends who stay by my side even if I embarrass them, (or embarrass myself). Friends who forgive and who don’t judge. Friends who don’t keep track of the last time I called them or text them or whose turn it is to initiate. Friends who aren’t envious when I am successful and friends who are truly sad when I suffer. Friends who are always inclusive and always thoughtful of my feelings. Friends who keep a secret, don’t talk behind my back and stand up for me fiercely if someone else does. Friends whose hearts are loving and loyal. Friends who tell me if I have accidently done something to hurt them or vice versa and we take time to work it out. Friends who forgive a drunken night, an emotional outburst, a bad joke or something about me they didn’t know and stay my friend anyway. Friends who accept an apology and know I mean it and the matter is over, done and forgotten. Friends who don’t care what my social status is or if I buy brand name clothing or shoes. Friends who have seen all sides of me and love me anyway. Friends who are committed to our friendship no matter what. Friends who have seen me laugh and cry and who I have seen laugh and cry. Friends who I have confided in and who confide in me. Friends who know me almost as well as my first two homes do and still stick around. Friends who treat me the same way no matter where we are and no matter who we are with. I can count these friends on one hand, but they are stronger than an army and I love them dearly…and they know that because we tell each other. Rare friends, true friends, home.
My parents. My family. My best friends. My three absolute greatest blessings. My three homes. How in the world did I get so lucky?
And as the waves gently rolled upon the sand and Pelicans soared overhead I admit I did think, “Would it be nice to have three houses?” A lake house, an ocean house and a mountain house? Of course! But would I trade any of my three homes for even one of those houses? Never. No. Not in a million years.
Love and Blessings,