So I’m sitting here in front of a blank page, and apart from the voice inside my head telling me I should clean up the kitchen, I can think of only one word.
It’s been grey and cold the last couple days. We’ve pulled out big striped socks and warm baby jackets and though I love the expansion of summer, I especially love the feeling of winter coming and the rainy days which accompany it. Things bubbling in the slow cooker, rain pattering on rooftops, treats baking in a cozy kitchen. Staying in. Staying home.
Living in a city which barely has seasons has always been something I’ve secretly disliked. Oh to carve out pumpkins and jump in orange autumn leaves and declare it to be Fall. Or to paint chicken eggs and spend Easter celebrating the shoots of new flowers in garden beds or the new baby ducklings while we say words like “spring break”. I envy those who spend their Christmas in front of fire places sipping hot cocoa and watching the snow fall through misted windows. It seems that where I live, it’s hot and then it’s not for, like, not very long. We have summer most of the year, with a little spurt of slightly cooler days, and the timing of this hot-coldness is always in the opposite order to how holiday celebrations are traditionally spent. I feel like we miss out on the ceremonies and the seasonal hype surrounding these distinct times of the year. I feel like I am out of the momentum of things, that I never get to truly experience the spirit of these seasons. Despite this fact, or maybe because of it, I worship the coming of winter, one of the very few times I can really sense a season change. I go overboard with celebrating the change in weather, which is to say, I generally end up in Target buying beanies and scarfs and cute little baby tights. Things which scream WINTER, BE MINE.
Mostly though, this time of year represents home to me. It’s a time to stay in. To read stories. To watch movies. To bake. It’s a time to gather people in. Into our homes, where we play our own music and make our own fun, all the while dressed in the appropriate foot attire of daggy slippers.
So we’ve been doing just that.
I turned our lounge room into a native Indian campsite yesterday morning and though I claim to have set it up for Ella, I can’t promise you that Joel and I didn’t lie inside it long after she’d gone to bed.
We stayed like this, the three of us, for most of the afternoon, and when darkness finally fell we rustled up some food for dinner, got Ella in the bath and then tucked her tired body into bed. We switched off every light of the house except the ones which dangled from the centre of the tepee, Joel and I. Then, we lay a blanket down for hips that are not as supple as they used to be and watched a movie under the glow of the lights. It was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time and a weekly tradition we will continue.
Lately, it’s just felt like home.
Joel and I have been talking a lot recently about where we truly madly deeply want to live. What we want our children to grow up with. Where we want to dig down our roots and call home. We talk about moving up the street to keep the community we’ve created close. We talk about moving to India, or maybe Indonesia, just because we can. We talk about moving to the countryside where the air is thick with energy and bonfires are built every night. We want a place to call home and we want it to be filled with our wildest dreams. In the end, though, we don’t decide on anything. Wild dreams are awfully large to contain. They are challenging to fit into each little decision we make, because each decision eliminates another dream we hold. So we talk and dream and dream and talk and put it to rest each night, hoping that when we wake up, we’ll have the answers.
What I’ve realized is this.
Home is not where you live but rather the people who exist within it.
I can sit here all I want pretending I know which town will make my family’s life the happiest. I can imagine all the fun we’ll have, all the richness a different place will bring, but in the end, as long as Joel walks through our front door and scoops our baby up with that look on his face that can make me cry, I will always be home. As long as we put each other first, as long as we endure the exhaustion and repetition and challenges of life and parenting and loving well, as long as we spend evenings under fairy lights reading stories to each other in pajamas, we will always be home.
What do you love about home?