The Things That Make You Feel At Home

Grace’s first day (last year!) of preschool was earlier this week. When Anna and I picked her up, Anna waved happily. The feeling was mutual—Grace presented her little sister with an arts and crafts project she’d made. Grace had written “ANNA (heart shape) GRACE” across the top.

“Aww!” I exclaimed. When we got home, I hung it up on the refrigerator, in true mom fashion.

Then I looked at our rental-house refrigerator and realized, “This house feels like home.”

1_magnets-on-refrigerator

A refrigerator with mementos magnet-ed to it—this resonated “home” for me. Our most necessary kitchen appliance was no longer a blank slate, but the keeper of a note from an old friend—a card from a new one—and a heartfelt gift from one daughter to another. Our kitchen had become personal.

Intrigued by the idea of refrigerator psychology, I walked through our temporary living space to find other indicators of “home.”

This rocking chair, for sure.

2_rocking-chair

Stanton and I bought it a couple of months before Grace was born. We’ve had it for more than five years and two cities now. And I’ve possibly spent at least six months, collectively, in this chair, for all the times I’ve rocked Grace and later Anna and for all the times I accidentally and so easily fell asleep holding a sleeping, deeply loved little girl in my arms.

This rocking chair for sure. No matter how worn it gets, I don’t think we’ll ever let it go.

And this painting.

3_painting

A Christmas present to Stanton and me from my mom, painted by an artist from my Pennsylvania hometown. It’s our first piece of “good” art. It’s something to build upon, and for quite some time in San Antonio, it gently reminded me of where I grew up.

Now, the opposite of good art: the girls’ playroom.

4_playroom

You may be wondering, friends: Did Melissa clean up this space—stage it, in fact?—before she snapped this shot for her blog? The answer to your question is, “Yes.” 🙂

Yes, I’m guilty of editing my real life, every now and then, so that the messy details (e.g., toys EVERYWHERE) don’t appall you.

Self-presentation disclosure aside… The girls use this space to create Sofia the First castles out of LEGO bricks and Lincoln Logs, play “Restaurant” and chase each other. They like it because it’s cozy and theirs; I couldn’t live without it because it’s contained (due to a baby gate, not pictured), allowing me a few minutes to myself once in a while.

Both girls are wide awake by 6:30 a.m., and there’s near-constant activity in our day-to-day life until about 8 p.m. At which point I decompress over a cup of tea.

5_tea

Stanton was thoughtful enough to prioritize the unpacking of my pink tea kettle, which I remember I bought back in Richmond, Va., with a Target gift card that a co-worker had given me as a wedding gift.

Two evenings in a row this week, the girls and I saw another recently relocated family at a neighborhood playground. I had a “refrigerator psychology” moment in the playground too. You also feel at home when you feel a sense of community somewhere.

A refrigerator with mementos magnet-ed to it. A worn-out, cherished rocking chair. A pink tea kettle.

And people you’ve come to know.

HOME.

What makes you feel at home, friends?

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Like what you just read? Then check out Melissa Leddy’s newest short fiction e-book, “This Is Just a Story.” Fun, timely and thought-provoking.

 

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