Sunday, August 8, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Home is where your story begins. -

There is a new country song out that I just LOVE. Though I am not really sure why I love it so much. I don't know who the artist is that sings it and she doesn't have that great of a voice. But every time it comes on the radio it just stirs something inside of me, you know? The song is called The House That Built Me. Have you heard it? In the song the artist talks about a grown woman going back to visit her childhood home. Life has taken her far away, but somehow you sense that she is hurting inside so she has come back home. Someone else now lives in the house, but the woman knocks on the door and asks if she can come in if only for a moment. She says she just wants to touch the walls and then she will be able to feel the memories of home coming back to her. She talks about her old bedroom where she did her homework as a child and the tree in the yard where her dog was buried underneath. She is saying that the house grew her into the woman that she is today. The walls witnessed her growing from infant, to toddler, to preschooler, to child, to teen. To me the song is a beautiful picture of everything a child should "feel" about their childhood home. Comfort, security, belonging. This song warms my heart and yet gives me chills at the same time, every time that I hear it.

I have never really felt "tied" to any one home or structure. When I think of home, I tend to think of people. And really, people are more important than any dwelling ever could be, but for some reason I have always felt a yearning to be tied to a house. The house my family lived in the longest was the pink house pictured above. (My dad calls it southwestern, but it will always be the pink house to me :). When we were in Houston recently for my Grandpa's funeral, we went by it and took the kids picture out front. It really is a beautiful house, and it has aged well in the past twenty years. Wow, twenty years. We moved there in 1990 when I was eight years old. Before that time my family had lived over seas (Saudi Arabia) in a few different homes, I think. One was a trailer, and then maybe one or two other houses. Truthfully, I remember nothing about those houses, except that in one of them I had a room with wallpaper that had rainbows on it. Awesome. After living overseas, we lived in Georgia for six months in a rental home before moving to the pink house, where I lived for ten full years before heading off to college. Ten years is actually quite a long time to live in one particular house, but for some reason, as nice as it was, I do not feel tied to it. I don't know why that is. There are happy memories there, for sure, but it has just never pulled at me. I have never missed that place, or felt like I needed to go back there. It is just a beautiful house.

For one reason or another, I wanted something different when it came time to raise my own children. (Don't we often want something different than what we had? Our own take and contribution to society? I think it is human nature). I have NEVER desired to live in a planned community/neighborhood, where all of the houses are lined up in a row and where they all look alike. I have always felt that my kids should be raised on country sunshine, where they had space to run and explore, living in a big old house that is screaming with character. It warms my heart just to think of it. In our short seven years of marriage, Boss and I have called seven different places "home". For awhile we joked that we were nomadic. A year here, a year there. Always looking for the next exciting thing. I kept hoping that each place that we tried would be "home", but it never was. Until we came here.

When we first moved out here, it was out of necessity. We were drowning in a pool of debt, Boss was working eighty hours a week, our current home was falling apart, and each day felt like a struggle just to get by. We heard about a job opening, so we came. My heartstrings were pulled by the work that is done here, just as it always had been, and when we drove out and saw the land, I knew it was "home". I just knew. The houses out here are nothing spectacular. They look a little worn, a lot lived in. Typical ranch style homes from the seventies. But the land takes my breath away each and every time that I pull onto the property. My heart starts racing each time I reach the railroad tracks, it speeds up around the next two bends, and then I am home, and it is full blown love. I love the farmland, the old trees, and the sparkling lake. Not to mention the people here. They definitely make it feel like home.For the first three years here we lived in one house, and it was good to us. We were happy there. But we needed more room for our expanding family. So when a larger house on campus opened up, we begged for it. And now we are really home. Seriously. The thought of ever having to leave physically makes my heart hurt.

I want us to spend holidays at our large, white country table. I want to bake things with my daughters in our tiny, sunny, yellow kitchen. I want to have picnics with them on the living room floor. I want to chart their growth on a door frame, do school lessons at the basement table, and tuck them in each night into their tiny, shared bedroom. I want to swing with the children in the yard and rock with my husband on the front porch. I want my family to feel comfort, security, and a sense of belonging here. I want it to feel like "home" to them. I want the walls to witness the writing of their stories. I want it to be the one place where they are free to be exactly who they are. Where they know they are always loved. Only God knows how many days that he has for us, here in our country house, but I am thankful that for the first time in my life He has brought me "home".

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