Tag Archives: home

Homestead

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Photo by Bluesnap via Pixabay

Home is where the heart is. And your clothes and books and all the other stuff that represents your life. It’s the place you display your memories and photos of loved ones. It has artwork and projects and pictures of your children at every age. It’s also where your spouse might live and where your children might have grown and flown the nest. Home can be a house, or an apartment or any place you feel safe to lay your head. Home is the people in it and not the structure itself. It is the nest that you feather, your peaceful oasis in the busyness of the world. Dorothy, at the end of her adventures in The Wizard of Oz, reminded us that there is no place like it. Yes, a home is definitely one’s castle.

However, the thing about a home is that you have to keep it up or it will fall around you without a moment’s notice. The past 6 months our aging home has protested some of its aging elements. The oil tank decided it had had enough and leaked oil as it brought in water. The water tank also decided enough was enough and just leaked. The old furnace we had replaced two years ago had left years of residue along the walls of the house and a fine layer of black dust over everything. The chimney leak finally was resolved so we were able to look to the other things in need. So a home, like a heart, demands care and attention.

After much planning (and after upgrading the aforementioned tanks) our summer staycation took the form of the interior house finally getting painted. We chose a bright, clean white color to offset all of those picture frames, masks and other mementos we have collected over the years that have sat on our walls and collected that same fine dark dust. Over two days we slowly removed all of those items, each one a memory we mused over and had a toast to and there were some things we couldn’t ever remember acquiring. With everything off the walls and furniture moved out of the way, our small abode looked quite a bit larger. It was time for the painter to do his magic.

There is no doubt that painting an entire house is a job best left to the professionals. Although our cat protested to being locked in a bedroom with food and litter, he was no doubt relieved not to be in the way of a man with a ladder, paint brushes and a definite mission. The project took more than a week during which time we marveled daily how incredible the house looked as each wall emerged from its formerly dingy and dark demeanor. Finally the last of the plastic coverings and paint cans were removed and it was our turn to put the house back together again.

homestead-149897_1280The one thing about doing any upgrade in your house is the unexpected things that get uncovered along the way. The dust and dirt under the rugs that had been rolled up and put out of the way had harbored the equivalent of an entire child’s sandbox. They had to be put out to sit in the sun and shaken until the accumulated dirt fell away. Wood floor cleaning was the next order of business as was hand cleaning all of the glass on the picture frames which had their own layers of black soot. It was the perfect opportunity to store some of those items that had sat on every available surface away and minimize the number of things hung on the wall so that we could enjoy our beautifully fresh new walls.

But as often happens, one change usually leads to another. My husband took the bathroom cabinet doors out to paint and the bathroom looks fresher now.  Closets and shoes were picked through and things discarded. The garage got a clean out. Even the windfall under the apple tree was cleared away. And now almost 3 weeks later we are significantly lighter and cleaner. The house feels as though it has taken a huge cleansing breath and let it go but of course it was really us.

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Photo by Dimitrisvetsikos1969 via Pixabay

Change and letting go are not easy things to encounter. As humans we feel more comfort in familiar things and it’s easier to stay the same then to make the change. But once we do make that shift we can feel it in our bodies and minds. This upgrade has definitely lifted our spirits and cleansed our souls. Coming into the house feels like a different space now although just a month ago it was the beloved albeit dingy home we gratefully ended our day in. But showing love to our environment means showing ourselves the love. It’s taken me a long time to accept that change is good but I have to be the one to initiate it. Our home most certainly agrees with me there.

 

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – March

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gezi-1344963__340Women are on my mind these days. My mother, my daughter, my sisters. My friends. Men are on my mind as well. My brothers, my husband, my son. My friends. We are all in this together. In the past few weeks some life changing events have happened both personal and vastly public. I can see photos of masses of women and men gathering around the world to march for human rights. I can see a very personal funeral march to celebrate the end of a life well lived and well loved. I can see events that strike cold fear in my heart, that make me fear for my country, for my children. Another march whose end we cannot yet see.

We buried our Mom the day of the big march. She was 92. To even imagine reaching that age is something I can hardly fathom. She was beautiful to the end. That enigmatic smile that hooked my father so many years ago and convinced him to settle down and raise a family, barely changed with age. We are six from that union and eight more beyond that. To witness the influence of one life in this world is amazing. To witness the influence of millions of the same mind is overwhelming.

My daughter walked in that great march and dedicated that time to her grandmother. A young woman navigating a complex world remembering an old woman who must have felt the same at her age. She was moved by that immense energy, by that positive force of hearts joined for a single cause. A few days later, she had a scary encounter that shook her world and forced her to look again with fresh eyes. Life is constant learning as the world keeps turning.

My sisters. We marched in our own private world locked tightly arm in arm behind our mother’s casket. We are four, each born 5 years apart. We were celebrating our shared sisterhood sprung from one small woman. We turned to each other for comfort, finding common ground while acknowledging we have just as much uncommon ground. Marveling at how our lives can impact time and the world. As do the lives of those we have given birth to.

My brothers marched too. Bearing the weight of that small woman to her final resting place. Bearing the weight of her loss. Our sons are learning the true meaning of strength and honor and love as my mother’s sons have. My son is soon taking a wife. The weight and joy and responsibility of that union has been experienced by his parents and their parents before them.  My children have been witness to many of their parent’s lessons. Some of those lessons they welcome. Some they reject. Some have yet to be borne.peace-1465207__340

Women’s march. Men’s march. Wedding march. Funeral March. Music and soldiers and even ants march. But it is time that leads us forward. Time marches. It is the one march we can never stop and can never see where it will lead. We can only follow it the best that we can. We can march to our own drummer, to our own tune. We can march with someone and we can march against someone. But we can never stop that march of time. 92 and 62 and 32 and more. They are numbers on the scale of life as we go marching on.

Very soon I will be a mother in law. I will have a daughter in law. Another to welcome into my tribe of women, of men. Our lives will begin another march together as the family grows. Children are born and elders die and the world turns round again. This hate and fear we are feeling now will change with the march of time. Our only hope is to hold onto the truest and highest form of ourselves and to grow in that march called life.
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I am honored my mother was who she was and the lessons she made me learn about myself just by being herself. And I can turn around and see all of those ripples of her life and people now here that came from that one lovely smile to a young man newly home from a great war and ready to build a life with her. Time marches on even though she has laid down her head. She trusts that we will hold onto the love she has passed over to us. Rest well, Mom. We will carry on the march from here.

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Homecoming

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christmasBing Crosby crooned so many years ago that he would be home for Christmas whether in his dreams or not. The sentiment in that song suggested yearning and hope and the cherished arms of family surrounding the person who had been away from loved ones for some time. It was a prayer and a lament for one who was far from home and longed to be sitting at that familiar and safe hearth. I know that longing very well. I left my home to follow my dreams, going on 40 years now. My pining for home during the holidays was deep and strong but after some time I slowly settled where I was. And if truth be told in all of those years I have only been home for a handful of Christmases.

Looking back, it was not for lack of wanting or trying. Some years I just did not have the money to go home. I suppose I could have asked for it but that was something I was never comfortable with. I felt that I had made this choice to go and I had to live by it. During the passing of years, however, life kind of starting folding in on itself. I have always loved the holidays so I began creating my own Christmas traditions with the loved ones I was with and in the place I was already. I have been fortunate to have had friends to celebrate with. I had a boyfriend, then I had a husband. Then we had a child and then we had another.

We started our own family traditions around our own hearth. The times I went back to my family home, I was in those wonderful celebrations but I was no longer of them. Their Christmas traditions folded in on themselves to adjust to my absence. I have held some of those traditions for my own little family. Certain foods on Christmas day. A festive tree and twinkling lights. But we have created many new traditions for ourselves. I am grateful that my children have memories that have kept their own home alive for them.

The beauty of not being home for Christmas is that you are open to the myriad of ways people celebrate. It could be Christmas but it could just as well be Hanukkah. It could also be Ramadan or Kwanzaa. It could be the Winter Solstice. Wonderful traditions, ceremonies, foods to celebrate the end of a year and the promise of the new one. December is everyone’s month and it is no one’s. Who could possibly claim it for themselves alone? The lights of the stars shine on everyone and I have yet to meet someone from any background who does not wish upon them. It’s a joy to learn other ways to celebrate. Those magical and joyous days are filled with such beauty.

Now my own children are adults. Now they are moving away and creating their own traditions. I find that hard. I find that karma has caught up with me in many ways although I am not really certain that’s how it works. It just feels that way. I want everything to stay the same and it doesn’t. It can’t. That is not the nature of time nor of life. If I have learned anything it has to be this. Some days I can find the traditions that make me long for those more innocent days when I was a child myself. But more often I celebrate the myriad of beautiful traditions that come to me from many sources. Life is a prism. It is a collage. It is the melting pot we are blessed with. What could be more magical then that?solstice

Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Eid Mubarak. Blessed Be. May you be home wherever you are.