What is home? What feelings are conjured up when you think of the space where you are raising your family? What will your children remember about it in twenty years?
When I think of home, especially my childhood home, I immediately think of my mom hugging me tightly, smelling like Pond’s cold cream and telling me that she loved me. I think of her wearing an apron and cooking something amazing for dinner, or baking fresh banana bread on a Saturday morning. I think of my friends walking through the front door without knocking after leaving their bikes on our front lawn, a sign that informed parents of our whereabouts long before the invention of cell phones.
I grew up in a house that was 900 square feet. It had two bedrooms, a pink bathroom and a floor heater in the hallway so large that you had to take a running leap just to clear it. My parents rented that little house for 20 years and never quite found the security or savings to purchase a home of their own. So we lived in someone else’s. My dad tended to the garden, fixed busted pipes, replaced old siding and kept water out of the basement when winter rains led to flooding. My mom and I painted the kitchen, swapped out old linoleum flooring (for new linoleum flooring) and wallpapered bedrooms. We took breaks long enough to eat tuna fish sandwiches and plan our next project. It was the only home I knew.
When I was 21, and commuting back and forth on weekends from college, I answered the phone and overheard our landlord tell my mother that he was selling the house. Our house. The only house I ever knew. I was shattered. It was also at that point that my parents decided to divorce~ a natural break I suppose~ from one life, one house, one spouse, to another. You may think that the trauma of divorce would have overshadowed the fact that we needed to move, but you’d be wrong. Losing our home was one thousand times worse. It was during this time that I vowed never to feel this powerless again~ I would buy my own home.
It took seven years, a great paying job with large bonus checks and a fearless determination to make this dream a reality. But finally, I closed on my very own condo~ a new build in a trendy Seattle neighborhood when I was 28. I had 600 square feet of my very own, with a view of a dive bar across the street. It was heaven. It was mine.
When I became engaged, the natural next step was to sell my condo and purchase a home with my soon-to-be husband. My old feelings of powerlessness crept back in and rather than feeling elated, I felt terrified. I worried that if this marriage thing didn’t work out, I would be on my own again~ without a place to call my own. I even held on to a set of dishes that I had purchased at The Salvation Army years before “just in case”. You know, “just in case” this marriage thing doesn’t work out. “Just in case” I end up homeless and on the streets. “Just in case” I found myself living in my car and needing to dine on fine china.
I’m happy to report that thirteen years and three kids later, I’ve let that set of dishes go. But I still firmly believe that nesting is what keeps us grounded. Home to me is about more than just walls. It’s a safe place. A happy place. It’s a place where dance parties happen organically in the kitchen, or where chocolate cookies are usually found baking in the oven, even if they did come from a refrigerated roll.
Creating a beautiful home doesn’t need to be expensive. If you surround yourself with the things and people that you love, you’re already doing it. Many of the things that I love in our house comes from estate sales, flea markets, even Goodwill. Each treasure represents a story~ a piece of someone’s past that has been discarded and then rediscovered.
The memories you choose to make in your home, whether you rent or own, whether your home is small or large~ are memories that your children will take with them forever. I hope that when my children reflect on their childhood twenty years from now, they speak with love about where they grew up. And if those memories fail, I hope they remember how tightly their mama hugged them, while smelling a little like Pond’s cold cream too.
Photography: Phoebe Rourke Palomo
designed by Michelle gifford creative
powered by Showit
We’re excited you are here, and we love you! Our hope is that we can keep this place uplifting for all types of moms in all seasons of life! So when you have 2 seconds, we hope you'll make some friends, kick back, and stay awhile!