Saturday, January 30, 2016

Home is Wherever I'm With You

We have lived in eight different homes in the fourteen years we've been married (one of them twice). The longest stretch we spent in any home was five years, but most stays were only a year or two. Recently someone asked about our current home, if it felt like I was finally home for good when we awoke after the first night here. The answer to that question was...not exactly!

Honestly I have gotten used to staying in different places, from our very modest first apartment to our current new-ish, large home. Whether hometown or college town or the city-by-the-sea, it always takes awhile to feel like I'm home, and I am not sure I've ever really had that feeling of being settled for the long-term. I love purging and reorganizing, and especially redecorating! But sometimes it has been hard not knowing how long we'd actually be in that particular home. I've gotten used to just trying to find contentment with the current home for the current day and trying not to think too much into the future!

The one constant is our own little, actually big, family. Every morning (unless he's traveling, or playing musical beds with children, or already at work) I wake up next to Steven, and that makes me feel like I am home. Our children are all in different places around the house...our room, their rooms, the couches, or even the upstairs balcony, but we are all together in our home. We spend most of our days together in our home and it becomes the safe haven where our hearts and our lives reside.

There have been seasons in our life when I wanted to escape from "home." Our outside activities were the things that my daily life revolved upon. Whether it was due to financial stress or job insecurities, or just my desire for lots of social engagements, we had outings every day and we all thrived on those as being the focus of our days.

I can say that now, especially with these last few moves, we have found so much more contentment at home. We have schooling to do, meals to prepare, games to play, crafts to do, shows to watch, and quite a few children to raise! I do enjoy a mom's night out, a shopping adventure, or a special homeschool event with friends, but really when I think about it I'd rather be home than running around town these days. And I love the days that we don't have to go anywhere at all!

It's stressful to dress children and load children and drive them and chase them, to deal with meltdowns, and find food, and change diapers, and miss naps, and come home exhausted! I'd prefer to let them play in their dirty clothes, snack on food in the pantry, ride bikes in the street, chase the dog in the backyard, and play games with each other. We can have slow mornings and slow evenings. We can school all day long when we don't have places to run to. I can take a nice long bath, and the baby can take a long nap in her own bed. My one less-social child can be more content and my extroverted self can have some time to text or call friends.

Our new home has afforded us the ability to have lots of gatherings here. It seems like we've hosted a large group event or party almost every week since we moved in.  It's helped us keep the house company-ready, and we've been able to have friend's over on a moment's notice. Today we have a neighbor over plus two friends who came to play for the afternoon. We've taken a walk to the park and a little bike ride. Although we have some errands and a party to attend this evening, it sure feels like an ideal Saturday here at home with our kids and their friends.

I'm grateful to have come to a place of contentment at home. I'm sure being in this beautiful new home makes that happen more easily! But what I'm trying to teach myself and the children is that the focus of our lives should be on the PEOPLE around us. That is, we should first focus on God, whose presence and love always surrounds us wherever we are, then on our family who God has given us to represent his love on earth, and finally on the community around us and other people we encounter each day. The place where we are is less important than the people we're with. Whenever all seven of us are together, wherever we are feels like home!


Amelia Bentrup said...

I can really relate to this post. In 15 years of marriage, we've lived in 11 different homes, so it's been crazy. I also used to go throuh the times where our lived revolved around outside activities and I couldn't wait to get out. Now, we're finally in a place where I'm happy to just be home.

Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

I had 18 addresses by the time I was in fifth grade, so I can totally relate. What always helped me, looking back, is that we took our family culture and tradition with us wherever we moved. Sometimes it was the littlest things that made the difference.

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