As this is my first blog from Buffalo, I thought it appropriate to write about home. Where is home? More importantly, what makes a house suddenly feel like a home? All of us have spent our first night in a house, either as owners or renters, and thought, "Okay, now I live HERE." But months or years pass, and we are so emotionally attached to a building: a place where we may have been married or single, brought babies home from the hospital, made dinner every night, sat with friends in the living room and experienced every possible emotion.
And then we move...
I have spent the last 6 weeks packing, sorting, organizing, purging and cleaning. I went through every closet and every junk drawer and somewhat streamlined my family's existence. Gone are the broken toys and baby clothes that don't fit even Elliot anymore. I've put my closet through a rigorous TLC What Not To Wear test - and still have too many shirts that I never wear. Extra furniture was sold and countless trips were made to the thrift store. And here I am with all of the "stuff" that made the cut - in a house in Buffalo.
Gregory had been living here for about a week before we moved the rest of the family. He painted and unpacked a few boxes. A few nights before moving here, he sent me a picture of some unpacked mugs and glasses set up in the kitchen. I hadn't seen the inside of the house at that point (except for a few pictures) and it was surreal to see my things in a place I couldn't see in my mind's eye. I had just had coffee that morning and wanted to use that exact mug that was already waiting for me in a Buffalo suburb kitchen somewhere.
House/home - there is a big difference between those two words.
Is a home where you know which cabinet your favorite coffee mug resides? At what point in the un-nesting process of taking down pictures and packing away towels does a home look more like a house? Because I was still living in our Pittsburgh home, I couldn't pack the essentials until the last couple of weeks. So I started putting away all of the decorations, books, photos and mementos. It may have been at that point that our home tipped the scales towards becoming just a house. A house that I was struggling to let go of emotionally. The photos of my family were taken off the wall, artwork was carefully wrapped and my home was devoid of personality.
It goes without saying that my home is wherever my family is. And now I can be even more specific - home is wherever my family is together. After five months of separation - we all sleep in the same place! What a novel idea! I'm asking the questions about our comfort items and familiarity. How does a house invite us into making a home? What's important to you?
I'm starting over with a new yard, for example. I don't know what is going to pop up in the springtime. I know in Pittsburgh that our renters are going to enjoy the strawberries I planted 3 years ago or the grapevines we planted the summer after Jackson was born. Home is walking into a room and remembering all of the stories there. But home is also looking forward with the people (and animals) who knew you in that old place too.