The view from our house in Denver – April 2018 snow showers.
Anathema hadn’t really made herself at home in the cottage. Most of her implements were piled up on the table. It looked interesting. It looked, in fact, as though a voodoo priest had just had the run of a scientific equipment store.— Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
What does home mean to you?
Is it the place you live? Your favorite restaurant, coffee shop, the school your kids attend? Is it the people you live with or those in your neighborhood? A favorite barrista or teacher or neighbor? Is it the actual structure of your living space? The four walls? The space you call your own where you put all your things? Or is the things you bring? Plants, pictures, your favorite books? The actual family members that live with you?
For me, it is a combination. I love my collection of cookbooks, my knitting supplies, my kitchen tools, and my bag/tote/box collection. These are the things I wouldn’t be able to feel like I was home and I probably would just start accumulating them again, even at my husband’s dismay. My people matter, husband, three kids, they make my house feel like home even when sometimes I’d like to just sit in silence. The rest of it, has not seemed to matter that much. Home to me is where I can relax and just be. A place where I can do my own projects, where I can set aside time to work, and where I have a comfy place to sleep.
I was so grateful that my mom got to spend a lot of time here with us durign quarantine. She spent 45 days with us until she could get a flight home. I can’t speak for her, but for me, she became part of the houshold and the home very quickly. I know my kids felt the same way. For a few mornings after she had left, our 2-year-old would wake up and ask for her, and go to the room she had been staying in looking for her. It was heartbreaking but also lovely to know that for them, home is where their people are. My mom joked she was part of the furniture of the home, a stable adult that was part of the house. It was absolutely wonderful. I can’t wait till we can travel again to have more visits.
There is of course another aspect of being home. Where the community or city is what you call home. There are places where I have felt more at home than others. Where people were nicer and more welcoming of newcomers. People in New York and Denver were wonderful. They are used to people moving often and good at including someone new into playdates and dinners. Slowly those communitites felt like home. Other places are more set in their groups and not used to newcomers. Going to school or work helps tremendously when moving. You are automatically included in a group and by default have things to attend. This last move has been the hardest because I work remotely, from home, and it has not been easy to find a group of people. Of course, this has been exacerbated by having to stay home the last few months.
This type of community home is one that I have learned to be ok with growing more slowly and living without for a while. I make sure my kids have friends and playdates, and then worry less about building my community. I also make an effort to keep in touch with my friends that are spread across the globe. We FaceTime, chat on the phone, email, message on Instagram (shameless plug: @purpleglassesFLDE). How do you keep in touch with a community you call home? How have you kept in touch while being stuck at home?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on what home means to you!