Christmas break – your finals are done, you turned in that last paper, and you’re ready to go home and take a break from it all. But when you get there, you can’t help but realize that it has changed.
The bedroom you loved for 18 years has now been taken over by a younger sibling who sweetly agrees to sleep on the couch while you’re home. Your friends from high school are likely non-existent, but if they’re still around, it only takes one “let’s catch up” dinner to realize how much things have changed (if they found out you like girls, they’d really think things had changed). It’s eight o’clock on a Friday night and you’re watching a LOTR marathon while your younger siblings are out with friends or on a date. If you do decide to go out, your mom texts to see what time you’ll be home. Oh, and don’t forget about those awkward conversations that are sure to occur – “What’s your plan for after graduation?” “Are you sure that’s God’s will?” “You don’t drink now do you? No, Mom (awkwardly turns up the radio).” And then there’s always the casual anti-gay comments that make you cringe, avoid eye contact, and randomly start telling your parents about that girl from high school who’s having her second child.
[Insert college town here], please take me back.
You love your family, you love being a part of their lives again, but you can’t help but realize that when you think of home, it’s not the same home anymore. When you think of home, you think of a place where you can be yourself. Even if that “self” is a sexually confused 21-year-old who probably drinks more than she should but still manages to make it to Sunday School.
I’m blessed in the fact that I have a large friend group who has accepted me for who I am. Friends that are more than willing to go to College Republican meetings and bible studies with me, but are also okay with buying a couple bottles of wine and letting me cry about my very real fear of what would happen if my parents realized that their daughter likes someone else’s daughter. My friends don’t have all the answers, and they don’t pretend to. But they love and support me, and that’s what makes a home.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go home for the holidays. You should. Your family loves you and through all of your disagreements and frustrations, you know deep down that it’s only because they want what’s best for you. Respect that, accept that, and love them back. But when you have a child, remember what it felt like. That beautiful little girl or handsome little boy will grow up. They will change. They will make mistakes and they will get their hearts broken. But there should never be a subject that they’re afraid to talk to you about. You may not always agree with their choices and they won’t expect you to. But it’s extremely comforting to know that even at your worst, you can always go home. “Home for the Holidays” shouldn’t just be a cliche. That home should be a place of refuge and safe haven – make yours one.