This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson is a telling one. We may describe our house as being of a certain architectural style or having a certain type of decor to it, but the truth of the matter is a home is defined by those who pass through its doorways.

While the primary residents have the most to say about how a home is described, it also gets meaning from the ones who we continually invite in. I think this is especially true as a child. Remember how exciting it was when you found out company was coming over? All of my boys go rushing to the door even when it’s just the FedEx guy. Our home becomes a little more joyous at the prospect of friends being invited in.

Then of course there’s the sleepovers and parties and who’s home is the one that friends want to hang out in. As you enter the junior high and high school days, a home can be further defined by the frequent additions at the dinner table and the post school event social gatherings.

When you breakaway from your parents’ home and start creating one of your own, you take some of that influence and add to it. Some of those same friends who found themselves at home in your parents’ place may carry over now into yours. While many may gather for your special parties and fun, it’s those that enter your home at the most unusual of hours that will truly define your home.

I love this quote from a book called Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist about how each of us has a “home team.” Here’s what she says:

Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.

My home is decorated with ornaments of friends and family from across the years. Young and old. New and vintage. They are the ones that will help influence the definition of my home over the course of time.

Make note of yours and appreciate how they help make your house a home.