Wednesday, June 20

No place like home...

Okay, so this is probably a strange post coming from a guy, but it's something that I've been thinking about this last weekend and there's no easier way to explain it than a girl in flashy slippers... so bear with me for a moment (I promise my next post will be marginally more blokey, okay?!).

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This past weekend, Karen took Abel and Sol up to Brisbane to visit our family.  I was bummed that I wasn't escaping the freezing, rainy Canberra weather (no kidding) and heading up to see our family in warm, sunny Queensland. But on the other hand, I was equally looking forward to a nicely balanced weekend of one-on-one time with Abi and some quiet time alone too.

I could probably count on one hand the number of times that I've been alone by myself in our house.  And of those few times, only a couple would have been for more than an hour.

So on Saturday morning we dropped Karen and the boys off at the airport.  Nana and Grandad took Abi out, leaving me with a good four hours to myself... in an empty.... quiet.... house.  It felt like bliss.  During this time I put on my music, did some cooking and just hung out doing nothing-in-particular.

And the funny thing was that as time wore on it felt like I was in someone else's house. It just didn't feel 'homely' any more.  Yeh, dinner was cooking, washing was cycling through, the heater was keeping it cozy, and everything was in its place (okay so the floors were still dirty but I could live with that). Generally, the house functions were all ticking along smoothly enough... but the home felt lifeless.

I realised that, at the end of the day, I don't feel comfortable coming home because the house is clean (or not), or that dinner is being prepared (or not), or because the kids are flourishing (or not), or because of the welcoming chatter (or the tired, frustrated grumbling).

No. I feel comfortable and refreshed when I walk in the door because I come home to a 'home' and a family. I know that no matter how hard the day has been for any of us and no matter how frustrated we can feel in certain moments, we ultimately love each other.  I know that my wife loves me. I feel it in the way she orders her life and our house and the special touches she brings. Special touches that make our lives (mine included) feel comfortable, prepared, refreshed. I know that the kids love me and each other... I see it in the way they interact with each other, in the way they want to be with each other and share experiences, and in the way they ask me for time and company.

Dorothy (the girl with the flashy slippers) went on a misguided journey. She went looking for something she thought she needed and wanted.  It's as futile as us striving for the perfect house and the perfect routine. The only thing we do need is to realise that "there's no place like home".  Home is always there. It may be amongst the muck, grime and sweat from daily living, but it is there.

So next time when I've had a hard day and I'm just looking forward to that time when the kids are tucked into bed (preferably after someone else has done the bedtime routine), I want to remember what a homeless home feels like. I need to bottle that lifeless atmosphere that I experienced this weekend. It'll be the perfect antidote for the times I forget how fortunate it is to have a home - a home that I wouldn't trade for the world.

What are the things about your home that you love?
What are the things that make it homely for you?

12 comments:

  1. wotisunique9:59 AM

    Beautifuyl. A home is people, not the space.

    I love that "quiet time". I love those (rare) opportunities to feel utterly selfish. They're special because they're rare. And they leave me ready to immerse myself in others' needs again.

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    1. Hey wotisunique,

      I totally love quiet time too. My best special alone time tends to always be out of the house (and away from home too).

      It makes coming home so much sweeter.

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  2. I am actually not a fan of being home alone. Although each time I think to myself "Yeah, this will be great!" I have never liked being away from other people.

    When we used to live in an apartment that wasn't at all mine (Husband lived there before I moved in) it didn't feel right. The sofas didn't feel like me, the place wasn't set up as I'd like it, and most of all, in the times Husband wasn't there - I had no cat with me.

    Now, I love our home. I love that the colours reflect us, that it's our place and our space, and that there's my darling little furry wandering around. That's what makes it home.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean Tamsin.

      I'm currently in negotiations with Karen about how our house needs a Lazyboy recliner (available here: http://www.lazboy.com.au/products/recliner.aspx)

      It totally reflects us! Btw hopefully i convince Karen soon...

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    2. Plus a house is definitely not a home without a cat!

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    3. We have TWO of those. And a big black leather chair in the library to make it home for Husband.

      Only our la-z-boys are hand me downs and they are green. YEUCH!

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  3. Oh geeez Bren you're lovely! Unlike you though, I LOVE being in the house alone. It gives me a chance to recharge and get everything ready so when we're all here together we can focus on each other and not on the stuff that needs doing. Having said that, I also love it when everyone's home and are quietly occupied doing their own thing. Being alone, together is very cool. Ah what can I say, I'm a homebody. I'll take it however it comes ;-)

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    1. Hey homebody.... you should be home alone more often :) x

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  4. Beautiful post Bren! I had one of those empty house moments a little while ago when hubby was out and my little one was at my parents' house. It was nice for about an hour or so as I gloried in the QUIET and the fact that I could do whatever I wanted to do! But after that, the house did just feel really empty! So it would seem that my little family is what makes our home a home - whenever any of us are away, the house just doesn't feel quite right!

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    1. Hey Kelly,
      Thanks for your praise. Truth be known it's a beautiful post because i have a great (underpaid) editor. Time to our-self is precious and not to be undervalued. Makes us all appreciative of our family. Hope you get some more quiet times. :)

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  5. Melc_191112:19 PM

    Gorgeous post. So lovely you are willing to share as a bloke how much you adore your family. Brought tears to my eyes. I do like some alone time in the house, but not too much. The time when it most feels right is when everyone is home. When the girls are away, say on camp or something, and it's just hub and I, we enjoy it initially , but then t doesn't feel right. I wander the house looking for something, just missing their sounds.

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    1. Hey Melc_1911, what can i say...i've got an adorable family. So adorable that they bring tears to my eyes. For instance, last night Abel, so calmly got all of our attention and told us all in a very matter-of-fact tone, that he "didn't appreciate it when all of us finished of the prawn crackers and only left him some crumbs" - this was coming from a boy who didn't want to finish his dinner anyway. It was very hard to stifle our laughter (and tears) whilst *sincerely* apologising to him and praising him for his mature manner in dealing with us.

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