The Year is Complete!

Please feel free to look back through the 365 days of 2010 sunrises, but "a year of getting up to meet the day" is officially completed. There will be no more new posts.


Thank you so much for visiting.
A one year blog project in which I share a process of transitions: emptying of the nest, reacquainting with my rusty intellect, plowing onward with my first full length book, entering the second half of my first century, and generally reflecting on life.

(see Dec. 29th, 2009 entry for further explanation)

Monday, April 12, 2010

house and home

 Oops!  my apologies -- thought I sent this at 8AM, but I must have pushed the wrong button...

sunrise:  6:56

I don't generally think of my house as exemplifying great architecture or beauty, but the morning sun gave some elegance and grandeur to this piece of it, set against a brilliant blue.  It seemed like a good reason to think about house and home today.

I have never been a whiz at housekeeping.  "Housewife" is a term that always made me bristle, even though the fact that I stayed home with children led many a person to give me that label.  I was NOT married to my house.  Clutter accumulates, the dishes don't get done every day.  Even though a decorator looking at my living room windows told me, "You can't just leave sheer curtains up with nothing else," I have - for years.  Two kitchen walls have been bare sheetrock since 2003.  Our house is loved, it has character, it is welcoming, but it is not tidy.

On the other hand, my feelings about home evolved quite dramatically as my children grew.  I came to embrace the term "homemaker."  To create a home - a warm, comfortable, healthy, loving environment that nurtures, inspires, and opens worlds of confidence and exploration - THAT is a worthy cause.  Sitting down together at the dinner table, decorating for Christmas, building cardboard castles in the living room, watching a kid-created puppet show, reading for hours on a rainy day from a massive pile of picture books from the library -- THAT is making a home, and I loved it.  Even when the laundry wasn't done.

One of the tough things about this approaching empty nest is the nature of homemaking.  I love my husband, but creating a home for him alone is just not enough motivation.  I think J feels a lot the same way.  Where do we find the drive to make a home now?  The two of us have been talking a lot about what we want to do.  Do we want to travel more, or spend more time creating a wonderful haven out of this home that we have?  Re-do the kitchen?  Plant trees?  a bigger garden?  put in more fencing?  get farm animals again?  paint the house?  move the garage?  add a deck?

The notion of grandchildren coming to visit even enters our thoughts, but we know better than to make any real plans around that fantasy.  It's hard even to figure out what we want, having focused so much on what would make our home a good place for kids, for teenagers, for friends. What will we do for ourselves now?

I met a boat captain one time who lived on his own boat.  He couldn't imagine, he said, living in one place, with the same view out the window every day.  It was a unique perspective.  I guess I really do like the consistency and comfort and history of home.  And the view isn't the same every day; that's the beauty of living in a temperate climate.  Without home, I don't think I could enjoy travel nearly as much.

Dream interpreters say that a house in dreams often represents your body.  If you dream of a vermin infested house, you may be sick or out of shape or worried about your health.  Even in waking hours, I think, our homes are another representation of ourselves, and their state influences our state of mind.  One sure way to brighten up your spirits is to clean up the house.  Or rearrange the furniture.

Our house is a shell that we inhabit, just like our bodies.  I guess both kinds of shell are worth giving time to.  To feel "at home" means to feel comfortable, secure, to be ourselves.   If we can make ourselves at home in both kinds of shell that we inhabit - construction and anatomy - we'll be doing pretty well.

1 comment:

  1. Watching the process of emptying my parents' house of 45-50 years illuminates for me exactly this concept of "house" vs "home".

    My extended family is just finishing the collective 6-12 month process of emptying the house for selling. My father died 4 years ago and my mother moved out about 18 months ago. Over that time, the "home" became less and less of a one and the "house" took over. It has seemed increasingly clear that the home (and all it accomplished for our family of 6 and then the secondary families that arose) was no more. Now it is just a house. It is simply a piece of real estate that little resembles the home it once was. And that is fine with me.

    As I looked through the last bits of books and basement junk, I found myself wondering about the other "homes" that preceded mine. How could I never had contemplated that before? 1820 to 2010 is a long long time - - my home in that house was certainly not the first by any stretch. And I hope it will not be the last. But who knows, it may well be a lawyer's office. But whatever - - it's not for me to decide or to lament. In any case, the home I had is firmly planted in my mind where it should be.