I’ve been thinking a lot about home lately and what it means to me. When Hubby told me his job was over and he was worried about the mortgage, I chirped “no problem, if we have to sell the house we will!” (I bet you didn’t know that in addition to the unlimited sarcasm, I have an annoying habit of being VERY perky to cheer everyone up. Can’t do it for myself, but boy howdy can I irritate a room with my upbeat-ness.) After all, I thought, it’s just different walls so no big deal, right?
Or is it? I’ve often said I love my house but I wish I could move it to a different place. What is “place?” Is it the physical location of your actual dwelling, or is it defined by the view you behold when you look out your window? What about reaching said home? Do you need to travel by highways or rutted roads? Are there conveniences nearby, or do you need to schedule a 45-minute trip just to get a quart of milk? Is your address easily found for deliveries of packages and mail, or is a Sherpa needed for a monthly provision drop-off?
I live in a small town surrounded by a larger town in the middle of a technically suburban area, but not overrun with housing developments. I can easily walk to two separate towns with post offices, convenience stores, butchers, drugstores, bakeries, pizza parlors, libraries, and transportation into The Big City and surrounding environs. While I despise the traffic issues of the nearby highway, I am pretty much in a quiet area. A horn honking or a siren wailing is still something that makes us stop and look out the window. When I lived in a city, that was just like your white noise machine playing in the background.
Granted, I live on a county road that sees rush hour in the morning and evening, but I have a huge backyard that attracts lots of wildlife (not the partying kind, although really how do I know what the squirrels and chipmunks are up to at 2 a.m.?) and has big trees and views of amazing sunsets. There are no rude or noisy neighbors, it’s mostly just families that might have a loud party on a Saturday in the summer and who really cares about that? I’m grateful I don’t have a neighbor who fancies himself a mechanic, feeling the need to rev every engine he works on super loud just to see how loud it can get and ignoring the belching exhaust out of the tailpipe (and yes, I used to have such a neighbor when I lived in the city parts; he was a prince, I tell you).
And while all these things add up to a pretty calm and serene existence instead of the jangling irritating climate I used to have, I’ve realized these are just the perks. The real part of home is the feeling it evokes.
There are currently four adults living in this house, two of which I gave birth to. We each have our little zones that we drift to when we come home, and one of us will always put the kettle on for tea. The reassuring sound of the gas stove lighting and the cups clinking and the anticipation of the warmth of the tea (even if it’s July and a bazillion degrees, tradition and routine is important) and the comfort of familiar surroundings nurtures us. We may read or play games on our devices or zone out with television, but we’re never truly disconnected from each other and we share those tidbits we find amusing or thought-provoking. We also need space from each other and that’s good, too, because we can go into another room away from it all and not feel ostracized or insulted. It’s called being human. Would we have this shared connection if we were in a small, two-bedroom apartment with almost no privacy?
I hope I never have to find out, but if I do I am sure to have a kettle on at all times while we work to figure things out. And that’s probably the essence of home for me.