I can show you the exact spot.
If you walk through the gate at the side of our house, halfway between that gate and the side door is the spot where I felt the peace of the place. We were house-hunting and had been through a gazillion places. This one was listed as 2-bedroom, fully renovated, 2-bathroom. If they had been truthful, they would have said 1-bedroom, not really renovated, 1 bathroom and a random toilet.
If they had been truthful, we probably wouldn't have looked at it.
We walked in the side door of this place that had sheets hanging on the windows, that was in desperate need of some TLC, this place that we didn't even fully move into until the bathroom was gutted and re-done. Spike wandered around, waving his arms, pointing out its flaws. Gino, our real estate agent, stood beside me. I was leaning on the half-wall looking around silently. Gino was leaning on the half-wall looking at me. He's a firm believer in love at first sight, when buying a house. Spike paused and asked skeptically, "Patti ... seriously ... is it even worth talking about?"
I hesitated. And then said, "I think I'm home." And Gino smiled.
I was thinking about that the other day. We've been here over 3 years now. Basement has flooded - twice - and been ripped out and redone. Mold in the walls upstairs has been cleaned out. Front porch has been replaced. Our grass is rarely cut as often as it should be. My landscaping started great, but is in need of clean-up now.
And never - not for one second - have I lost that sense of home in this weird little place. It's the only place I've ever lived where I had that sense. I wouldn't have said it mattered to me. If I had described to you my dream house, this would not have been it.
But I belong here, in this place, where peace greets me between the gate and the side door.
And almost every day, I'm thankful for home.