How to Tell Your House Has Become a Home

by Jay Fadden

A family around a table

As children, most of us lived with our parents. We had homes, and each day, we would come back to the house, open the door, and proceed to “make ourselves at home.” For me as a young child, this meant lounging on the couch and watching TV or playing with my toys. Every night, I would go to bed happy and content, snuggled in my warm bed. My home was filled with love and warmth. As I got older, many of my friends would also just walk into my home. There was no knocking. Our home was open to all, and it was a welcoming environment. My parents actually bought specific snacks for friends who would come in and go right to the cabinets to get their treats.

Years went by and I started living away at college, but still, I had my home. It was not my parents’ house; it was our home, as if I paid part of the mortgage. Then, one day, I began to realize that it was not my house, but my parents’. I could no longer bring myself to say I had a house in Canton. I would instead say that I lived in my parents’ house in Canton.

This did not mean that the home was any less welcoming or warm. It meant that I was now an adult and was beginning to fully realize my place in the world. It was a bit sad, though, and it made me understand that I would soon move on in my life.

In my twenties, I moved out of the house and got an apartment that was all mine. It was not a home, it was an apartment. Years later, I bought my own house and got married and soon began to raise a family of my own in our house. My parents sold the house I grew up in and moved to their second house down the Cape. But with every visit, something interesting happened. I never knocked. I would arrive with Shirley, Amelia, James, and Ethan, and we would walk right into the house. The kids would run to hug my parents, and then they would play with the toys that were in the basement. I would lounge in the sofa and talk to my dad and mom. I was home!

When my parents visited us, they didn’t knock, either. They would just open the door to my home and walk in with a “hello.” My home was their home.

A house is made of wood and building material. A home is made of love. My family feels very comfortable just walking in because we are family. They are not just walking into a structure, but into a home filled with love.

No knocking is no problem when you walk into a home and not a house. How fortunate I am to be welcomed into so many homes.


How to Tell Your House Has Become a Home