I've been home in Indiana for the last 10 days and I'm sitting here this morning, sipping my coffee and soaking up every last bit. My parents' house has been packed with 16 people during the last week, but today we've dwindled down to just a remaining nine. It's funny how a house full of nine people can feel a little empty after a week with 16.
Tomorrow early morning I fly to Charleston to meet Chris for a New Year's Eve wedding. As I sit here this morning looking around the house - at my nephew bouncing a ball and my mom drinking her coffee while wiping down the kitchen counters that aren't even dirty - at the simplicity and ease of it all - I can't help but think how it's the little things in our daily rhythm that make home feel like home.
It's the way my dad always offers to cook every meal for us - a breakfast with bacon and eggs - when we would have settled for oatmeal. It's the way my mom goes to the store every day, just to make sure the fridge is packed with every food item we could ever imagine wanting.
It's the way we drink coffee slowly in the morning, then again in the afternoon. It's going to bed early and getting up early, awakening to happy little laughter.
It's driving around Zionsville with my brothers and pointing out where people from our class live - knowing which house belongs to certain people. It's seeing someone you know everywhere you go; no big city anonymity, all small town familiarity.
It's the way my parents house feels warm and filled with love, even on the coldest Indiana days.
It's knowing that even when it's over, we'll be back again soon. And knowing that other things may change, but the most important thing is always family.