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.
This was also the house where we had the great paint fiasco.
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.