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How Do You Make A House A Home?

22 Aug

How do you make a house a home? I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately. My own family is still adjusting to our new house. Unpacking boxes, trying to figure out where to put the possessions we brought from our last home, placing furniture in just the right areas, painting, hanging pictures, etc. Trying to make ourselves feel like this new building is comfortable and a home. It takes time. Putting the pieces of your life that have been in boxes in just the right places can be hard, especially when you want to put them in the places they were before.

Growing up, there were five different homes that I lived in, that I can remember. The earliest memory of a home was when I was 4. I know there were several before that, but for the time being, let’s stick with five. I envied the people who were born and raised in one house. I thought that was the coolest thing. For the parents and their kids. I always said to myself I would love to do that when I grow up. My future husband and I would buy a house on a quiet, tree-lined street with sidewalks. We would raise our children in that house. Watch their first steps in one living room, celebrate holidays and special occasions in one dining room and toast our Golden Anniversary in the same house, surrounded by our grown children and grandchildren. Grow old and die in that house.

For the record, The Dude and I are now living in our fourth house. So much for that fantasy.

Because I had such a warped sense of adulthood as a child, I have grown emotionally attached with each home we have lived in. With the exception of our current house, we brought a baby home to each house (THIS house has a strict no new babies rule). I watched in blissful happiness X Girl and X Boy take their first steps in the living room of our second house and Lil’ E take his first steps in the living room of our third house. Each house was filled with happy memories and it was painful to leave them. If you know anything about me from the blog, I can be quite sentimental.

This past weekend, my father and stepmother moved out of the house they had owned for 25 years. It was bittersweet for my stepmother. All their children and most of their grandchildren are grown. It was just the two of them. There was too much maintenance for them to deal with. The house was too big for them and they were needing something smaller with less upkeep for the two of them. My stepmother and I talked about the upcoming move during a recent visit. We were talking about all the happy memories that those walls held (I am assuming that she was not counting the time her then 18 yr old stepdaughter got arrested for trying to get a fake ID as a happy memory. But I have no idea who that is.) and all the important people in her life that the roof had sheltered. As I hugged her, I told her that no matter where you are, as long as you are surrounded by the people who you love, you are home. A house is four walls and a roof. A HOME is what you put in those four walls and roof. There will be many new memories to make. There are still good times to be had (according to Shelby from Steele Magnolias). Home truly is where the heart is.

As I sit here reflecting on the advice I gave my stepmother just a few weeks ago, I find it ironic that I can dish out the advice (quite well, I might add!), but had not thought to take it. We live in a house. It has four walls and a roof. But what is important is what is inside of the house. My family. That is why each house we have owned has had such sentimental value to me. We moved into each house and made it our home. The place we know we can always go for love, comfort, security and support. This house is becoming our home. It is filled with love, laughter, happiness and the occasional “I hate it here! I want to move back to NY!”. It is already chock full of smiles, jokes, kisses and hugs. We DID bring a new baby into this house, our puppy, X Dog. Life is good. Life is full. Life is what you make of it. And that, is how you make a house a home.

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