Home is where you can live out loud.
I’ve got the computer on my lap, the kids tucked in bed for the night, and my booty planted firmly on my couch. Yes, my couch. For a long while—way too long— this cushy, old thing has been stored away while our floors were replaced and replaced, and replaced again. It was tucked away while we spent weeks at several different friends’ homes, and even stayed here without a dinner table and with an air mattress couch—certainly the hottest trend in minimalist decorating. Now, we are firmly replanted at home with the most AMAZING floors I have ever seen.
Kidding—kind of. I have actually noticed the grain and the coloring of the hardwood in a way I never had before. I’m appreciating just how unique the planks are and the character they add to the house; God help the first person to scratch these beauties! I’m also grateful just to be here, with our “stuff.” Having access to files, books, toys, full wardrobes, and little things like notepads or onion goggles. Being greeted by the smiling faces of loved ones in the picture frames throughout the house. Seeing cherished objects—gifts received or objects found—that stir my memory or fill me with joy. To wrap up in my favorite fuzzy blanket and chill with Netflix.
Being home means more than being surrounded by familiar decorations, though. All of it, while meaningful, isn’t essential. It is, again, only stuff. More than the knick-knacks, the furniture, the paint, or even the floor, home is a feeling, a comfort that is unique to this place, this space and my little family that squirrels away here.
Don’t get me wrong, every home that was shared with us, whether for a night or a week, was cozy and comfy. We are beyond grateful to have such generous friends; but as lovely as they all were, those houses just weren’t our home.
Our leapfrog existence was exhausting and wearing. It sped by, devouring more than half of our break, leaving me wanting to somehow make up for all of that lost time. I’m not quite as eager for the start of school because I feel like our family summer has just begun. My middle child, Rhett, however, slowed my roll, melting down and insisting all he wanted was to be at home. To not have to go to camp, activities, the pool, the beach, bowling, or any other adventure. He wanted to be home.
So, that is what we did this week. We stayed here, with all of our stuff and our fabulous, finished floors, and delighted in the ability to be and feel at home. We had no pre-made plans. The kids had friends over, they played outside, we tackled our daily checklists with full attention, and I made calls, paid bills, ordered gifts, planned a birthday party, and purged bags full of broken and no longer adored toys from the kids’ rooms. It felt incredible to be so productive.
The week is nearing an end, and I’m grateful Rhett forced me to pause the high-speed summer action plan. Being here this week, I got a full dose of appreciation for being with my people. Being home. I realized that shuffling from place to place, we lost a sense of unity, togetherness, order, and comfort. We, too, were shuffled and scattered, disconnected, and lost. Slowing down and being here without a go-go-go mentality made me realize how lucky I am to have this place, that can, at times, be stressful, annoying, loud, full of too many people (meaning more than just me), but is always home: the place where we all know we are loved and belong just as we are.
It is a safety net and a springboard for activities, creativity, cuddles, and authenticity. It is where I yell, meditate, cook, clean, play, chase, clean some more, teach, and love.
It is where my littles are their most rotten and most endearing. It is where we sit on the floor and eat picnic dinners even when the dining table is back in place. It is where kids are thrown on the bed and tickled until they can’t stop laughing, and where we sing too loudly and off-key. It is where doggies sidle up for well-deserved attention from too-busy humans.
It is where we are together and complete; where we navigate relationships and lessons; and learn to love, be loved, and communicate. It is where we understand that we are bigger than just one person; that our actions affect others; and that no matter what happens in life, you can always count on your family.
Home is where we can live out loud all the good, bad, silly, ridiculous, ever-evolving ways that make us who we are as we are.
It is so good to be home again.