We moved house (and state) a few weeks ago, and as I've been unpacking boxes, and trying (again) to create a home for my family, I've been reflecting on this very question.
It's not about validating my choice to be a homemaker. I'm quite happy in that choice, and don't feel the need to inflate my ego by listing all I do in a day. I know that without my choice to stay at home and do this, my husband could not go out and do what he does. So I know that it's an important job, and I know I'm awesome at it.
No, my reflection is born of an observation that making a home is so much more than just these four walls, and the people therein. It is also the building of community outside these walls. The finding of a place for this family in a larger setting, and the ability to make it feel like a natural place. To take these strangers, and merge them with other strangers, in such a way that it feels like we've always been here.
It's hard. Because I really wanted home to be where we were, but it wasn't. And it was absolutely NOT a failure on my part. I immersed myself in community, I made friends, I got to know people - but it still wasn't home. And I think that's another point which should be made:
I am an exceptional homemaker - but I can't make a home for someone who doesn't want it to be a home. I can do all the things I know to do - home-cooked meals, tidy house, thriving children, fresh laundry, listening ear, unwavering support and encouragement, and a fierce love - but these things alone do not make a home.
Home is where the heart is, we hear it said. It is trite, but I now know this to be inarguably true. And while my heart was striving to grow and bloom where I was planted, I couldn't make his heart feel at home, because it was slowly being strangled by a deep, deep unhappiness, and slowly it began to choke the life out of all of us.
The changes in our life of late have breathed new life into each of us. Into our family as a whole. This house we are in, it feels good. It feels like this was always home, and we've just been away for a very long time. And I guess that's what home is. It's something we sense, like the beating of our hearts. It is confirmed every time the heart beats again:
Every kid on the street in my backyard, bikes everywhere. The heart beats.
The sun, streaming through the window onto my kitchen table. The heart beats.
The realisation that, though I have lost what was, it is perfectly preserved in memory. The heart beats.
The glittering frost on my grass, spread out like a carpet of jewels before me in the morning light. The heart beats.
The aroma of my spices mixed with the smell of old timber, every time I open my pantry. The heart beats.
The sound of my children giggling in their beds before sleep overtakes them. The heart beats.
These things, and so many more, beat out the rhythm of my days, my life - and just like I am so often unaware and unappreciative of my own heart's faithful beating, if I am not mindful, I will begin to take all those things and moments for granted which, with their gloriously ordinary beauty, steal my very breath away.
Here is to a new life of looking, and listening for, those gloriously ordinary heartbeats, which I am certain will lead me home.
Thanks for reading,