I’ve been thinking about the concept of home lately. I have committed to an art project for the ArtHouse Co-op in Brooklyn, NY. Their annual Sketchbook Project asks artists to fill up a standard Moleskine sketchbook with art, words, and whatever creativity expounds around a specific theme. My sketchbook theme was chosen randomly — “…you’d be home by now.” I like it. The theme lends itself to humor and introspection with a twinge of regret or wandering. For me, it explores the question of “if” and of how we view the journey to home.
As I’ve been thinking and sketching for the project, I’ve settled on the idea that we really take “home” with us. Whether it’s mental snapshots of a particular house, memories of sights and sounds and smells we treasure, conversations with friends or foes we knew at different times in our lives, the feeling of ownership at claiming our own space, the joy of building a nest and so on. We find our “home” in many places. And while some of them are associated with structures, it’s often our own interpretations and feelings about those spaces rather than the sheetrock and glazing that enclose them.
I lived in the same house from the time I was a baby until I left to attend college. I can still see the wallpaper my mother hung, the arrangement of the furniture, the placement of treasured items in my room. The place my Mom & Dad created has colored my expectations of my own home. I am thankful for the sense of togetherness my parents created in that space. For the sense of celebration that permeated it, even on regular Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I’m thankful for the creativity exhibited there that fueled so much of my life and work today. I’m thankful for the communication, “you matter” that occurred there each day. My parents no longer live in that house or that town, but the “home” created there has an indelible place in my spirit. It has remained my benchmark for all that is normal. It became what I look for and seek to build in my own home.
As I go about my days of mothering, I’m so grateful for the privilege of creating a home for my little ones. The opportunity to build that place that will serve as THEIR benchmark is such a blessing–and a huge responsibility. I remember after Little Drummer Boy was born, I clearly remember having the realization, “I CAN NOT get this wrong.” I wanted to live each moment with the long-term in mind, reminded of the reality that little moments string together day after day to form my children’s lasting impressions of home. Their expectations of how family should be. Their assumptions about love and celebration and habits and responsibilities and all the other daily things that make a life. It makes me take greater care with the daily and with the unconscious habits I allow to continue within these walls, knowing they become unconsious expectations for their future lives.
Beyond the blessing of feathering nests, there is another “home” I’m recognizing, and one I’m hoping LDB, Bug and Baby Girl will find. We are each created with purpose and gifts that can be used to bless in this world. Life has a way of distracting and deceiving and wooing us outside of ourselves and those gifts. The view we have of ourselves can become unrecogizable to that person we really are–who we were made to be. The realities of what really makes our heart beat at its strongest can become clouded. In times of wandering and wondering, the old adage “home is where the heart is” rings true.
Wherever my heart finds a resting place becomes home. Wherever my heart breathes in a clear space becomes home. Wherever I find my joy and fulfillment becomes home. Wherever I can give unencumbered. Wherever I can give with the full weight of support urging me forward becomes home. That “home” may be defined differently for each of us, but we can rest assured that our heart knows it. Our heart can recognize it. Our heart seeks it. Our heart wants to be in that place where we can be ALL of what we’re made to be. I’m thankful for that homing device built inside us. The one that helps us find our way through countless turns. To ourselves. At home.