“We have a need for a place that is called home. Home provides security, control, belonging, identity, and privacy, among other things. But most of all, it’s a place that provides us with a centering—a place from which we leave each morning and to which we return each evening.” -Edith Sitwell
My dream to build a home began when Jason and I started dating in 2008. Instead of going out at night we often spent our evenings browsing through house plans. He would remark at the roof lines and the size of the windows while I made sure there was enough space in the dining room to host Thanksgiving dinner. I had the determination and vision, he had the skills and practical eye. It was a perfect match. My dream was to build a home on the same land that I grew up on as a kid. The same land that my memories reside in my mind growing up with my brother Colton. If I could build a home on that land, I could relive those days and keep my brother alive though watching my own kids play here, I thought. It seemed like a lofty dream but I made a firm decision to never let go of it.
To be honest, this has been an overwhelming subject to write about. I’ve been trying to find the words for almost 2 months. I wrote a post asking people the meaning of home to them. Some people had a concise definition while others had heart breaking stories of pain and redemption. I realized I had to break it down into parts and even still, I feel as though I am only skimming the surface and doing the subject little justice. I decided after much contemplation that there are three different seasons of home we experience in our lifetime.
The first season is being raised in our own home. This is the home we are born into, the place that shapes us for good or bad. This is where we are formed in all our vulnerability and unwavering trust. The second season is leaving the home we know to discover who we are despite our roots. Some of us may rebel against everything we have been taught to be true in order to sift through what to keep and what to throw away. In this season, we discover who we are despite and because of our roots. The third season is when that still small voice calls us home again and we decide it is time to create our own home. This is when we collect all the treasures from all the seasons and weave ourselves a unique and meaningful nest. When others visit this nest, if they look carefully enough they should be able to detect layers of all that has formed us. This nest we build represents what we believe in and who we are.
Growing up in my childhood home, my Mom was the ultimate homemaker. She sent me off to school every morning with a homemade mocha, I came home to hot chocolate chip cookies. Our floors were always sparkling. The Chickens laid their organic eggs in their craftsman coupe that my Dad built. At Christmas there were glowing villages settled in fake snow and lit up Christmas trees in every room. In my opinion, my Mom was an expert on turning a house into a home. Now that I am a Mom, I know what it takes to create that type of comfort and sense of belonging for a child. It doesn’t happen accidently. It is created through love and intention. I just lived in the experience without knowing what it actually was that created the feeling. And that is the beauty and the tragedy of the power of home. We grow up thinking that our experience of home is normal, accidental and the way things are, and we absorb it in our naivety no matter if it is good or bad for us.
I moved away from home when I was Eighteen. I couldn’t wait to get off my island where I had to take a ferry to get a decent pair of jeans. I thought it was a horribly boring place where my future was at most, bleak. I wanted to explore the world and get the hell outta’ there, and I did.
I went to the Philippines, Japan, Hawaii, Fiji, and California. I was wild and free. One time I found myself stuck on a tiny island named Ono during a cyclone in Fiji. I bathed in rivers and slept in a puddle of my own sweat on a beach. I helped a six foot five Fijian man who wore wet Levi jeans, spear an Eel and then I ate it. I tried to free a Turtle who was supposed to be our lunch the next day, in the middle of the night. I got caught and reprimanded by one of the villagers and was absolutely terrified of the consequence (although there was none except for the angry lecture). I hitchhiked through Hawaii, made lifelong friendships with beautiful souls, pet wild horses on black sand beaches, slept in homemade tents made of palm branches. I found God in Hawaii and experienced his unconditional love the first time in my life. I wrote a book all along the pacific coast highway and it ended up published in Barnes and Noble. I ran a non-profit for teenagers in Laguna Beach. I fell in and out of love. I wore high heels to the beach because I could. I struggled with my self image and then found my confidence again. I often drove as far as I could down the coast and stayed in a random hotels just for fun. I nannied for celebrities by day and danced in clubs in way too short of a skirts at night.
Then, suddenly I was 28 years old and as exciting as this life was, it was not home. I longed for the sound of the rain on a roof, the protection of the tall Fir trees, the familiar faces of the ones I love and that still small voice was calling me…home. It was time to gather all my treasures and begin the process of weaving my very own nest. I wanted a place that represented me and who I had become. A place I could create a similar feeling my own childhood home offered me, for my own kids.
Fast forward eight years later, marrying Jason, selling his house, giving birth to two babies within 22 months of each other, and purchasing 5 acres right next to the land I grew up on. There we were…we were standing on our raw land, holding plans of my nostalgic farm house, measuring out where our house would sit. It took eight years but there we were, physically standing on our dream. It was a glorious whirlwind of planning, designing, visualizing, lots of paperwork, timelines and budgets and right now I am sitting at our budget friendly butcher block island (that I obsessively researched prices for) writing this blog.
If I look out my kitchen window I can see that the wind is swirling our tire swing around as if a playful ghost is taking a ride, the sky is low to the earth in a dull shade of gray. My four year old son is sick on the couch. I am currently fluttering around adjusting his pillow, making him lay back, stoking the fire by his feet, filling up the hot water bottle, and taste testing his honey lemon tea. I don’t do all these things just because I hope it will make his cold go away. I do them because I want his body, heart, and mind to know what home is. I want it to soak into him like the VapoRub I just massaged into his chest. You see, I am frighteningly aware that my four year old is in his first season of home. Jason and I are the sole conductors of the orchestra that will create his experience of home and more importantly, form his heart.
So, today is the last day of 2018, whether you realize it or not, the seasons you’ve experienced of home has formed who you are today and who you will become in the coming years. Here’s to the foundation that formed us, the journey away that enlightened us, and the nest we create that grounds us and nourishes others. Cheers to whatever season of home you’re in.
May you always find your way home.