Homemaker at Heart

Some say being a homemaker is passé these days. Having lots of rooms and others to decorate and clean them is often what makes a house a showpiece. However, I thrive on making our home an oasis in the world for my family.

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When the children were small, laughter, play, exploration and safety was the fabric of our home. Imagination thrived as dress-up, art, books and nature consumed our daily lives. We were in awe of each other and the wonders of the world. Our busy days ended when we curled up on the couch each evening. The days fell away as the warm blanket of love wrapped us all together. We grew sleepy and magically drifted to the place “Where the Wild Things Are.”

As years passed and play and exploration no longer required parental supervision, I strove to make our home a respite from the stress of growing older. In our home, friend fights, mean teachers and occasional lapses of judgement were tucked in with the promise of a return to brighter days. Even when the children tried their hardest to push us away, we stood strong, tall and together, each evening making repairs to the walls of our fortress, keeping our home intact so the children would know they are loved and safe.

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As the children have grown to be adults, some with children of their own, I continue to strive to make our home a combination of all these things – a place to play, a place where judgement is left at the door and we can bask in what really makes a home – family.

When Hannah leaves in the fall I will miss the ritual of getting up and making breakfast each school day, reminding the children (and myself) that each day brings new adventure, dreams to fulfill and new stories to write. I’ve been doing that for almost 30 years. Soon, I will be having breakfast alone and planning how my home will nourish me now. I will continue to make our home a respite from the world. I will be planning our family celebrations.

I have lived in many houses, but it is not the structure that makes the home, it is the faith, beauty and love inside that binds a family.

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Bah Humbug

I’m having trouble finding the Christmas Spirit this year.  It all started with a trip to Target.

I was recently part of an Early Response Team in New Jersey.  I spent 3 days working in the name of God.  Throwing families personal possessions to the curb for the back hoe to dump into the semi headed for Pennsylvania’s land-fills; ripping out the floors, walls and souls of well loved homes, and mucking through black sludge in a hazmat suit not really wanting to know what that smell was.

Upon my return I desperately needed razor blades. As I walked into Target that morning I was immediately struck by the intensity of the lights in the place and the absurdity of the muzak humming in the background.  I have made jokes about being a “Stepford Wife” in the past, but this time I REALLY felt like one.  So much so that it made my stomach retch. The copious quantities of crap that assaulted my eyes as I walked to the health care aisles offended my sense of being. I picked up my pace, grabbed my $15 4-pack of Venus cartridges and fled to the great outdoors.

In the parking lot I stood, waiting for my head to stop spinning.  Breathing – panting at first actually. But eventually my breath returned. I went home and showered.

Two weeks later and my home is the warm, cozy winter retreat that it always is – some decorations up, roaring fires in the evenings and gentle music to soothe away the day. But I still don’t have a tree up and I’ve only casually considered Christmas Cards.  And baking? Really not happening.

But in this moment that all seems OK.  Maybe I really have found the spirit this year that I never really had before.  Advent is about waiting, finding the joy, feeling the love and welcoming the child. A light is burning in me, just casting a different glow this year. A softer one. A glow found in the anticipation of something new: the love, peace and serenity of a clean-shaven life.

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