Dear … home,
In my dreams, home, I can see you. Warm and cosy, but with enough room for the three of us, and all our books. Filled with light and flowers in the spring and twinkling lights in the winter. You’re blessed with a garden for us to soak up the sun, splash in a paddling pool and grow herbs for dinner. My friends come round for supper and we chat into the evening, on comfy sofas, in my candle-lit sitting room. The children have a bedroom each, painted in whatever whimsical colour combinations they wish. There’s space for my skincare ingredients; perhaps a proper little office. And I have a sanctuary against the world. One in which I make the decisions as well as the dinner.
At the moment, you’re rather different. Home for now is with my parents, living in the spare bedroom of their house, the bulk of my possessions in clear plastic boxes that dominate the garage. It’s the nature of starting life all over again.
On a good day, our home for now feels perfect. Three generations of one family under one roof feels right. It’s how many families around the world still live on a permanent basis, after all. My kids know my parents better, and despite their protestations to be allowed to use technology at all hours, they do spend more time with their grandparents than they would if we lived elsewhere. The parenting is still my job, mind you.
On a more difficult day, I feel as though I’m in the way. My ‘strange’ (spice-laden, grain-centred) food has taken up space in the kitchen. The bathroom is always busy. My children have another room, and their toys are scattered around the house, despite best efforts to keep them tidy. Despite being incredibly minimalist, I have completely blocked up the garage with our beds, bikes, books and a saucepan or two.
And my room overflows, as it still has my parents things in it, along with mine. At the end of my bed, a big storage unit filled with my kids’ toys, spills out onto the floor. It can be suffocating, it’s always messier than I’d like, the books seem to be breeding and I still haven’t bought a duvet…
But it’s warm. There is always light, food, company. Safety. And so much love – even when it’s accompanied by grumbles. And, when you’re starting again, safety, security and love are exactly what you need. Home is wherever love is. Regardless of how that looks.
So, home. You may be a touch unconventional right now. But I know how lucky I am to have you at all. Without my parents’ support, I honestly don’t know what you’d look like. In a year or so, if I see my plan through and keep good fortune on my side, perhaps you’ll look like you do in my dreams. But for now, I shall try to tidy up, buy a duvet, cook dinner for my parents more, and practise gratitude for for you look now.