Terri Hanson Mead
Published in

Terri Hanson Mead

Home Is Where the Heart Is: PYL In-Flight (Aug 22, 2021)

Welcome Back My Sanctuary Seeking Passengers:

What does home mean to you?

This past week our son Adam visited for a few days before he starts back at school for his junior year at Chapman University. It was also our second child’s 17th birthday and this picture pretty much sums up how Finn felt about Adam being home this week. It was a hard visit. Adam is 20 and very much feeling the in-between.

He’s not quite on his own. He’s had a couple of false starts in creating a place for himself (pledge brother’s death his freshman year and a less than optimal 18 months due to the pandemic). He doesn’t want to call our house ‘home’ and desperately wants to be on his own but can’t fully separate from us because we are funding his college experience.

And, well, we are his family.

My friend Candice’s mom sold the family home and is moving to a new place. Candice’s dad passed away a few years ago and there are some sentimental things she wants to make sure to get before her mom packs them up and donates them, or worse, tosses them out.

I’ve been concerned about how all of this is impacting Candice because I remember what it was like when my parents sold the house I grew up in back in 2014. I’ve also been concerned about how her kids are going to take not having Grandma’s house to go to.

New places sometimes just aren’t the same.

We moved to Castro Valley when we (me and my twin sister) were six and our brother was three. Not only did I grow up in the house, but my parents’ house was my sanctuary when I first became a mom and had no idea what I was doing.

Zeke was a police officer and a lot of the time I was parenting alone. I’d walk into my parents’ house with Adam (and later Finn) and my mom would take the baby (or both kids) and send me to bed. She always made sure there were diapers and wipes and toys for the kids. It was a safe place for me to get rest and be taken care of.

When they sold the house and moved, things changed. Their new home was no longer my sanctuary, but then again, we didn’t need it the same way. It was time for my parents to claim their lives and their space as their own. My parents packed up their stuff and left a box or two for us to retrieve before the new owners moved in to create their own, new memories.

While it was time and the right thing for them to do, it was still a tough transition for me and the kids and we grieved for the end of an era.

When my grandmother died a few years ago and my mom, aunt and uncle sold her house, I once again grieved. We had so many amazing childhood memories at her house in Reno, Nevada, including playing in this delightful (and somewhat dangerous) playhouse that matched the house.

I asked for only one thing from my grandparents’ house as their things were packed up and the walls, rooms and floors were stripped bare.

As the oldest grandchild, I called dibs on this beautiful and timeless candy jar.

When we were kids, we would walk into their house, walk up the stairs, and go straight for the candy jar. Hopefully we gave my grandparents a hug before reaching in to see what stale candy was inside. Sometimes there was ribbon candy mixed with butter mints and salted peanuts. It was quite the memorable and tasty combination.

As I was talking to my friend Jacqueline yesterday about what home means to her, I gained a completely different perspective.

She grew up in the Netherlands and moved to the US for college. While she’s made her house in Redwood City a home, Jacqueline offered up that things and people can represent home when you move frequently. More than this, she suggested that home may be where you feel like you belong and goes beyond a structure, people or things.

When she lands in the Netherlands, she feels herself relax and breathe differently. Some things are just easier for her there.

As Adam finds his place in the world, we are going to hold his room for him so that he has a ‘safe’ place to return to. He may not appreciate it now but one day (and hopefully soon) he just might. Until then we will take him to A’s games where he says he feels his best.

This past week was a pretty rough visit on Grand Street with Adam. Finn did not feel like our house was safe for them emotionally (Adam can be a lot) but then again Finn is still fairly self-centered / self-involved at 17 and struggles to see that they aren’t the only one living in the house. Contrary to what Finn would like, our household doesn’t 100% revolve around them.

As for me, home is where my hearts are and sometimes we aren’t in the same place at the same time. That’s ok. I hold special places for Zeke, Finn and Adam. Physically, home is the structure and space where we’ve spent the last twenty years in Redwood City.

Pretty soon, Finn will be off to college, too, and it will be just me and this wild and crazy guy. Who knows where or what we will call home? We’ve had discussions about living elsewhere for part of the year and having the kids visit us. If we do, I am hoping that the kids will make themselves at home wherever we are as they create their own space in the world.

What does home mean to you? Is it where the heart is? Is it where your people are? Do you make places feel like home wherever you go? Is home tied to things and not places? Do you have more than one home? Do you even have a place to call home?

With much love and gratitude,


P.S. Take the controls and be the pilot in your own life. It’s a beautiful day to fly, and you are cleared for takeoff.

Song: She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult

Piloting Your Life (the book)
Terri Mead YouTube Channel
Piloting Your Life (the podcast)

Twitter: @PilotingLife

Instagram: @PilotingYourLife

Facebook Group: Piloting Your Life (the book)

Facebook Page: Piloting Your Life




I want to live in a world where everyone has the opportunity to live freely, equally and have an extraordinary life. #PilotingYourLife #Angel Investing #Digital Health #Sol2Proj #Womanism #Tipsy

Recommended from Medium


I went to your Contact, and then My Heart Sank

Woman staring at the camera as her hair is being fixed.

Learning to Trust the Voices in My Head

So how old am I, Dad?

Birth by cesarean, black and white image

Dad’s Thoughts: An Incidental Finding

She Lost Her Beloved Mother, But Why She Asserted that Loss Was Not Just A Loss sometimes?

An Open Letter to My Keen Sandals

Some Adults Hit Children, and It’s NOT Okay

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Terri Mead

Terri Mead

IT consultant, expert witness, YouTuber, helicopter pilot. Making the world a better place, especially for women. Award winning author of Piloting Your Life.

More from Medium

How Not to Panic Every Time You See One of Your Favorite Classic Rockers Trending on Twitter

The Health Benefits of Green Spaces: A Look at Public Parks and Gentrification

When advice can go wrong for the neuro-divergent…