Thursday, September 3, 2015

That Which Makes a House a Home

I had no idea what yesterday would become until I unwrapped it, layer by layer, slowly over the course of the day.

First off, four more windows have now been replaced. The old and dilapidated is now new and improved. It is with great pleasure that I can now officially say "nine down, one to go" when it comes the new window count in our old home.

Secondly, I spent my day with three children under the age of three. Two of those three were boys. What a simple day it was without the drama and (new and improved) manipulation games of my two older girls. Noise levels remained intact all day and the biggest issue we had was someone taking the other guy's toy. That is a very good day in my books.

But the best part of the above mentioned scenario, is that all three of them napped for over two consecutive hours. Do you have any idea what one conscious adult can do with two+ hours? Me either!

So I was shocked and amazed that I had the time and energy to start, follow through and complete a task I've had on my to-do list ever since the last time I did it.

I advertised three items to give away on Kijiji. A vacuum cleaner with a plugged hose (believe me, I tried everything known to man and Google to unclog it); a mop with velcro pads; and thirteen well used and very heavy patio blocks (three of which were broken). My first ad was placed at 2:35 p.m. and all three items had been spoken for and picked up by 4:30. Amazing!

I had four other items that held some value to someone but they have simply not been used by anyone within our home for at least three years. So I listed three of those items on an auction site, with a starting bid of $1.00. The other item (a perfectly good Wii system with several games) I listed for sale on Kijiji.

So far, on items I would have given away, the bids are up to $16.25. The bidding closes at 6:00 tonight so I can't wait to reveal the final tally. This game could become addicting.

It is so little but it feels so big. Letting our clutter find a good home does my heart good. Why do we hold onto things we don't need, want our use any more? You don't feel the weight until you let go. I lost a lot of weight yesterday!

Then, in the midst of my email chiming with incoming messages (from my auction sale and Kijiji ads), I received an email from someone I worked with for three months, three years ago. She invited me over for coffee. "Are you free this evening or tomorrow evening or on the weekend?"

It is so hard for me to say "yes" to a future date. My all time favorite way to live life and accept invitations is on the spot. Since the only date she mentioned that worked for me was last night, I quickly accepted and was headed over to her place before my brain had a chance to process how hard it is for me to follow through when I say "yes".

I think this friend is close to my age (my apologies to my friends everywhere, I feel like each of you are close to my age the moment we sit down and discover all of the parallels and similarities we share) and she seems so happy. Really, really happy. She retired a year ago and the way she speaks of the time she spends with her husband, it sounds like they really (really!) enjoy each other's company.

They are both retired, both in good health and enjoying doing what they want to do. It sounds like they get as much pleasure from sitting down and watching a movie at home as they do taking a European river cruise.

I sat and gazed at the sun room we were visiting in as she prepared a little snack for us (Really!!? Are you expected to actually feed your guests when they arrive with their supper barely digested???) and all I could think was how "loved" their home felt.

Grandeur and excess does not make an impression on me. Loved, however? That is exactly the look I am going for within our home.

Normally I don't notice anything about a friend's home except for the way I feel when I am sitting still and visiting within it. Warm, welcome, accepted, safe. This, plus so many more descriptors are all I normally really "take home with me" after visiting someone. The appearance or details about their house doesn't stick. The feeling does.

That which makes a house a home is what stands out to me. Mom's house = safety, security, comfort and all things family. Any one of my sibling's homes = family, love, warmth, a state of welcomeness. My friend's homes = friendship, acceptance, comfort, warmth. Intermix all of the above and this is what I remember when I leave someone's house.

Yes, I love enjoying that which makes their house a home to them. I fully appreciate those kitchen renovations, the new flooring, the updates, the makeovers, the little things that take so much and mean so much to you. I feel exactly the same way when I enhance that which I already have within my own home. So I appreciate your excitement when you make those improvements, big or small.

The creature comforts of home are different for each and every one of us. But when I walked out of my friend's home last night, it was the first time in a very, very (very) long time that I thought, "I want to strive towards what she has."

She is happy, relaxed, at peace and so comfortable in her life. I love listening to the way she talks of her husband. She didn't gush or give away any details but there was a feeling behind the words and she used the words "we" "our" and "us" often. Those are my most favorite words within a relationship.

And their home. It simply feels "loved".

Our home has felt so sorely neglected that I hadn't even noticed I have stopped inviting people into it. "Let's meet for coffee" is big in my vocabulary. In other words, let's go to a place where no one has to worry about what state their house/home is in. Neutral territory.

Yet when someone invites me into their home and we just sit still and visit, we could be sitting in a hovel for all I notice and care about.

It is the state of welcomeness that I remember and want to exude when I invite people into my world.

"Loved" and "welcome". Add that to a state of ease, comfort and a feeling of "you are safe here" is really all I want. I am getting distracted by paint and windows. I just want our home to feel and look like it is valued. That is my true goal.

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