At the end of the day, home is a feeling not a place
I begrudge what I just wrote above. I’ve been without a solid home of my own for many years now and so when I try to soothe my inner aching self that’s yearning for stability and security with the notion that home is a feeling, I feel a resistance spread through me like wildfire. And yet homemaking, the art of making a home, can actually be done just about anywhere you find yourself. I’m becoming quite the expert in it.
Over the past four years we’ve moved many, many times; making temporary homes in an RV, a 200 year old limestone farm house, myriad tropical homes in Costa Rica, a cute and well appointed village house and several different friends houses.
We sold our downtown family home with grand plans that didn’t materialize. That was an unintentional catalyst for a big span of nomadic years. I mention it because we, Steve and I, always had a beautiful cozy home of our own, so it felt somewhat surreal to leave the housing market and feel the doors close firmly behind us.
Every place we’ve been I’ve endeavoured to make us feel at home. The art of homemaking is creating a feeling wherever you are that gives you those foundational feelings of safety, security, belonging.
Don’t get me wrong, I am sooooo ready to pack away my suitcases and never get them out again. I have categorized, journaled, dreamt about, meditated on every detail of my next home…the one I own. The one I shape to my desires and specifications. I am so exhausted by the prospect of moving (this weekend! and then again in 8 months when that lease ends!!) I can hardly get my body to go through the motions of the very familiar game of Tetris of our worldly possessions that is just about to commence. I know what you’re thinking, it’s a very frequent question we get, “so why are you doing it?!”. Cue I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For by U2 while I try to explain the combination of my restless spirit + my indecision + my wariness of what’s happening in the world + trying to pay for past financial mistakes while saving up for a house/land in this market + explaining my trust in divine timing…
Anyway, homemaking. I think it’s been overcomplicated, I think it’s been capitalized on so many times. It’s not about a book, or a magazine, or a suite of products from every home store. It’s not about an Instagram or Pinterest worthy photoshoot.
It’s about the day to day living, the intentional ritual you place on doing the mundane with grace. Or gratitude. Or joy. Or presence. And that brings a sense of security and stability and certainty that goes along with you, like a turtle in its shell, your sense of home is one with you.
Home, it’s felt through the senses when I really think about it.
It can be through food — familiar meals, the smell of food cooking, the ritual of sitting down together.
It can be through decor — a small plant or crystal, a beloved photo, a rug or blanket.
It can be through belongings — favourite toys, books, oracle cards; our trappings often define home.
It can be through aroma — essential oils diffused, beeswax candles alight, sage burned and wafted through the space.
My intense focus on home could all be a season, I get that. I mean, I’m a Taurus/Cancer, I’m very much about the home so I doubt it will change. But I’m a momma to three young-ish ladies, perhaps so much of what I feel in regards to homemaking is central to these fleeting moments in my daughters lives.
It’s also a shared effort, my daughters each have their own incredible knack for making home wherever we go — as they put up a photo or organize their books on a shelf, set up a craft space. And Steve is as domestic as I am, in his own right. He’s the action guy, the mover of objects, the errand runner, the bedtime dad, the kitchen cleaner, the executer of our dreams and whimsies.
We work as a whole and like gypsies in a caravan we bring along our version of home and make camp wherever we end up.
I am ready to put the nomadic phase of life to bed. I am willing this to be our last time that we live out of spilled-over suitcases, baskets and bags that we trudge around with. Perhaps homemaking has become an act of preservation, a way to make sense of this trajectory. Humans, meaning-making machines, I find purpose in my day to day through the lens of being a momma and homemaker first.
I won’t resist it, I will dwell in it, I will celebrate it even. All of my desire for greatness and validity can be met here, if I let it. I’ll share the journey so other women can come home to themselves too, quell their restlessness and lay down their distraction. We’ll make up the beds, do a load of laundry, plan the menu, and, in a world that feels mad most of the time, find sanity in the sanctity of our own creations.