Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe shares his love for family.
I think it is fair to say that our perspective of home changes throughout life. At least, that’s certainly been the case for me.
As a child, home for me was a small house on Annetta Avenue in north St. Louis. I don’t necessarily remember the color of the carpet or what was hung on the walls, but I do remember the rooms. I remember the smells. I remember my family and having that feeling of acceptance and love while I was there. In time, that house led to another house, which would also become home not because of the structure itself, but rather because of the people in it, especially my mother.
As I grew older, there were many times when I wanted to leave that house, to branch out on my own and start my own way. When I finally did so, I found that my reference point of “home” remained right there on Annetta Avenue. Truth be told, it had never looked or felt more like home than when it was in my rearview mirror as I drove away from St. Louis, headed to Linn.
In Linn, I lived in an apartment. Decorating decisions were made by a committee of one, and the committee rarely met. I remember this apartment not because of what was in it, but because of what was not; I remember only a few people, even fewer good smells, and no feeling of love and acceptance.
After Claudia and I married, my perception of home changed yet again. I quickly learned that decorating taste and personal habits that were perfectly acceptable as a bachelor did not translate well to married life. Claudia transformed a house into a home: She was there, good smells were there, and love and acceptance were there. Soon, home included a child, then another, and then two more. One house eventually led to another, but my family made each of them feel like home.
Just as the people in a house make it a home, so do people within a community. For more than 30 years, Claudia and I have called Jefferson City and the surrounding area home. It is a special place because it is composed of special people who support your business, coach your children in sports, teach them in the classroom, and worship beside you in church. Now, as Claudia and I travel the state, we are regularly welcomed into families’ homes — ordinary homes of people who are doing extraordinary things, homes built upon the love of families who make Missouri great.
This spring, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to change everything around us, it is interesting to note the best medical advice I’ve heard is to wash your hands and stay at home. My mother told me these exact same things countless times, and I would give just about anything to have her here to say it one more time. In her absence, I am so blessed to have a wonderful family to share memories with and an abundance of love as we work to stay safe and healthy. I hope that my children will one day be able to say the same.