“The ache for Home lives in all of us, the safe place we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
A recent conversation with a friend packing up her Mum’s house after her death had us unpacking the concept of Home.
Both my friend and I have lived in many places and neither of us own -at the moment- the much-desired mortgage, nor deeds, to our own bricks and mortar to call Home. As we dug further through our current circumstances and life experiences I blurted out
“…that’s why you’re on the run.”
…and that’s when the penny dropped.
At my last count, I have lived in 30 different abodes in different cities, different countries and in rural and outback Australia. This includes three homes in one year as an exchange student and four moves with the children in 5.5 months (including living in someone’s converted shed and a stint in a women’s shelter) in 2011.
Ironically, as a child I designed homes, drew plans and wanted to become an architect. And I had the grades and aptitude to be good at it too, until… (…that’s another story!)
What is Home? And why haven’t we found (or built) it yet?
“I don’t want someone to take my Home away again” she said.
There was silence on the phone as we both let these realisations sink in.
We had both stayed in relationships for our respective children’s apparent stability, and admittedly, our own. The false perception that having another adult in the house provides stability was an illusion into which we both bought, along with the half-acre block, insurmountable debt and ongoing turmoil.
Both of us had left our marital Homes in order for us to be safe.
This was a big ah-ha moment for me. I had rented many places, and each time I had bought a property, I had left for my (& my children’s) wellbeing.
Both of us are still on the run, neither of us currently in our forever Homes.
We concluded that Home can be anywhere and everywhere you feel safe. It often holds a sense of familiarity and nostalgia. Those sheets. That armchair of my grandmother’s. That ‘essential’ kitchen gadget I bought while on holiday.
We agreed that Home isn’t about the stuff, unless you make it. I’ve seen some really nice sheets in David Jones, and I didn’t really need that kitchen gadget I’d bought on the same holiday I’d been both ignored and shouted at in the street.
Home is nowhere geographical, unless you make it that either. I have friends and relatives who’ve lost everything in bushfires. They’ve rebuilt. And moved on.
Once we let go of the concept that Home is about the stuff, we’re free to create (and notice) how Home feels.
I hold my ideal house in my imagination. It’s somewhere my kids will feel comfortable walking in with their friends and kids. They’ll lob when I’m not Home. They’ll feel free to raid the fridge, stay the night, share celebrations and keep coming back. It has a view and a verandah. My kids may or may not have memories of the stuff. They’ll make cubbies with sheets and cushions wherever we are, and that’s where Home is… Where we feel free to be.
Wherever my children & I travel, we’ll know exactly where Home is because as Winnie the Pooh says,
“Home is the comfiest place to be!”
When you’re with the right people, Home is anywhere, and until I find the right bricks and mortar, Home is right here, and that is just perfect. For now.
If there’s nothing more secure than adaptability and resilience, then my children and I are as ‘safe as houses’!