Tuesday, February 10, 2009
When a House Is a Home
I wrote the story below a couple of years ago, and even with the passage of time, this story still rings so close to my heart. . .
With the holidays around the corner, I know there is a lot of planning for out of town company, holiday parties and family dinners. Frantically, people are running around looking for the perfect crystal and table centerpieces. Unfortunately, I think many people believe that they have to have everything in their “houses” magazine perfect! But, if your house is truly a “home”, I think you find a different type of attitude. Just the other day while working at Country Roads, a customer spent almost an hour trying to decide if she wanted to buy two matching lamps. The price wasn’t her concern, but she was worried if she should have lamps that match on each of her nightstands, or should she have two different ones. She asked me, “do people do that now”. I looked at her and told her that I personally believe decorating with stuff that makes you happy is what’s important. I reminded her that in my opinion, only, there is no right or wrong when it comes to decorating if it makes you happy.
Many of us live in “houses”, but how many of us really live in “homes”? I remember when my husband and I were first married and bought our first house. As we began to paint it, as we began to fix it up and when we eventually had kids, it truly was our home. I was only able to buy antiques when I could afford them, but those antique pieces of furniture still fill my home today and are filled with such warm memories I wouldn’t trade for anything! Eventually my husband and I decided we wanted our kids in a better school district and wanted a bigger house. So, we moved and to this day that is one decision in my life I regret. We had a beautiful 4500 square foot home in a fancy neighborhood. But something was wrong, and at the time I couldn’t put my finger on it but that house was never a home, it was just house. Like a lot of us, I ended up getting a divorce and wasn’t the brightest crayon in the box when it came to divorce! The house went up for sale and it was now time for me, after almost twenty five years of marriage, to start over on my own. It really was a difficult time, but somehow, someway, I managed to pull together just enough funds for a down to buy a house of my own! And that house is my home today and I will always be grateful for my good friend and realtor at the time, Lisa Blanc, for helping me get what I wanted, a “home”!
By all means I’m not implying that you have to “own” a house for it to be your “home”. Our homes are what we make them regardless of size, location or anything else. A home is where your heart is! A home is where you create memories, it is where you surround yourself with not only your family but your friends as well. In my home we’ve all sat together and grieved over 9/11 as my friend Darcy brought a kitten over that day that has become a part of my home. I’ve had six Christmas dinners here, I’ve had a wedding reception, birthday parties, baby showers and this past year we celebrated my grandbaby Riley’s first birthday by having a pool party! For me it was the “full circle” of life. The pool party for Riley reminded me off all the pool parties I had for my own three kids as they grew-up. And just like when I had my kid’s parties, those antiques withstood the test of not only time but little hands as well!
My home now has its own memories. It’s still filled with the same antiques I’ve had over all these years. I still have that same harvest table I had in my first home. During the holidays we still have our holiday dinners on that table. The only difference is some of the people at the table are different. It’s the progression of life. My parents no longer are here to join us, but Riley now joins us. We also have an old Mission china cabinet that my parents had in their home that now sits next to my old harvest table. It keeps those holiday memories of the past with us. And so begins a holiday season which will be filled with yet more new memories as we remember the old. This is also the time of year to remember to give back, to pay it forward. When you see someone on the street corner holding a sign that says, “Homeless, Need Help”, help them, even if it is just by giving them a dollar! Reach into your heart and create a holiday memory for someone that desperately needs it. I always took my kids out Christmas Eve when they were small to “give back”. It was our part of our celebration of Christmas! Make your “house” a “home” this year. Remember it’s not about “what” you have or don’t have, or the perfect place settings or decor, it’s about the “people” you surround yourself with that make a “house” a “home”.
Posted by Sue at 5:26 PM