Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Women and Home

When we left our old house, I cried. This puzzled Billy very much. “It is a nice house,” he said. No, more than just a house. More than four walls and a roof, a shelter, a place to house our furniture and keep us warm and dry. More even than a building to decorate attractively (which I never even did). It was home.

“Why?” Billy asked. Why was I so upset? I didn’t really want to talk about it then. I would have cried for hours if I’d tried to explain. So he asked me to write something sometime to help him understand why women become so attached to their homes.

It’s universal, I guess, although I can’t seem to find anything written on it. Maybe I’m the odd one. You know the saying Home is Where the Heart Is? That’s true. I pour my heart into making a home for those I love best. Creating home is the number one way I express love to my family, which I suppose is also why I become so frustrated when I fail. I spent most of the time there for four and a half years. It was my haven, my nest, my safe place. More than that, every square of floor, every wall, every window had a memory attached. I had to hold back tears as I cleaned the empty house. Every scratch, stain, and crayon mark told a story. Here’s where two of our babies first came home. Billy and I spent a lot of hours resting in front of our favorite feature of the house, the huge back window that looked out into a wooded yard. That’s where I held tiny Silas in his diaper and rocked him in the sunshine for hours to combat jaundice. In the kitchen I cooked many meals, labors of love. Here’s where my little ones took their first steps, said their first words, read for the first time. Here Billy and I snuggled to watch movies late at night. Elizabeth cooked her first dish in this kitchen. Looking out the window I could envision my babies at play, so tiny, now so big. I always wanted a house with big oaks in the yard. This one more than fit the bill. I remember evenings we spent outside, playing with the dogs, planting the garden. This place was special because of the memories attached to it and the love it had housed.

This was also the house where we had the great paint fiasco. Elizabeth’s room, which was supposed to be pastel yellow, turned out neon yellow-green. The poor child lived with that hideous color for 4 years. Finally I painted it pink, just 2 weeks before we learned we might be moving. That made me heartsick. She had wanted a pink room for so long.

I’m not just a housewife. I’m a homemaker. That’s why it’s so instinctive in women to make homes, and once we do, once we pour so much love and emotion into a place, why it’s hard to leave. There’s more to it than that, I think, but that’s the best I can do. All I know is that home means a great deal to me. Leaving my home to try to start a new one is hard. Much as I love my new place, I still miss the old one. I fell to pieces the other night when I thought I might have to see our old place again. I said my good-byes. I don’t want to go through it again. Then I cried again when I thought about leaving our new home. It’s a mixed-up mess, but for some reason that’s how I am.

Home can and should be a little foretaste of heaven. I suppose that’s where the grief comes in. We’re hard-wired to live in a perfect home forever. We aren’t made to pull up roots. But in a broken world, we do. One day we’ll be in our perfect home, and we’ll never have to leave it.


Hannah's Mom said...

I can feel the sadness... :( New memories will eventually replace the sadness and what a beautiful day that will be! I, too, felt that ache when I left Wyoming... I did not have the memories of my child in that home, but I did have wonderful memories and as I have had many a new one, it has helped with the ache.
Here is to Many Happy Moments to come!
We love you!
Todd, Windy and Hannah

Erica said...

This post really hit home for me. It's amazing how we can become to attached to things without realizing, until we have to leave them behind! There is something about the familiar that is comforting.

The new place will be familiar before long! :)

Charity Grace said...

Thanks! :) The weird thing to me is how happy I am in our new place, while still having moments of homesickness for the old one. I feel like an emotional schizophrenic. LOL

Erica, you really hit on it when you mentioned familiarity. That is definitely a factor.

Jen said...

Oh, I totally can relate! We are thinking of moving and I swing between excitement about something new and intense grief over leaving the familiar. I can cry just looking at the growth chart we have in our doorway or the grape juice stain in the living room. I'm so glad God wired us this way, though, so our families would benefit from the effort to make a beautiful home.

Charity Grace said...

The bit about the grape juice stain made me laugh and completely identify at the same time, Jen! Thanks for sharing.

Lady Dorothy said...

I just recently attended a marriage seminar taught by Gary and Greg Smalley. Gary mentioned that if a woman DID NOT attach herself to her home and her "stuff" in it, the odds are that she would be physically ill or diseased. Very interesting!

(I just happened upon your blog -- cannot remember from where. Thanks for some good reading!)

Seeker said...

ooh, that is so good, and so true!

I feel a tinge every time I drive by the house my firstborn was born in. It's also where we lost one of our angel babies. :(

But, I love my *new* (three years) home too. Our second daughter was conceived, carried and born here in this house, which used to be hubby's grandparents home...I love that!

Charity Grace said...

Lady Dorothy and Seeker, thanks for your sweet thoughts. Based on the response I've gotten, this seems to be common among women. Glad I'm not the only one!