Friday, August 16, 2013

Making home

Our lives are in boxes. Small boxes, big boxes. Sealed cardboard containers full of both the important (baby books) and mundane (cheese grater). The things that make a life a life.

Our days are currently spent opening boxes and finding homes for the essentials. We've purposed to keep some boxes sealed-- the idea being that at the end of our stay here, we may find ourselves less inclined to label these unopened time capsules "must haves" and be more likely to part with them as we book plane tickets to Nepal. Still, the supply of boxes that must be opened and sorted seems endless. 

Even pared down, even after ruthlessly purging, even after having sent bags upon bags to Goodwill, friends, and neighbors ...

We have a lot of stuff.

So we open boxes. Put towels in drawers. Hang photos on walls.  Stack puzzles on shelves.

We make home.

The first few days here, in this cavernous, mid-century home, I felt like an intruder. A visitor comes and goes. But an intruder takes away from the space, violates it. Seeing my sewing machine claim real estate, sitting at my humble kitchen table ... all of it was wrong and unknown and somehow seemed an affront to this house, in this neighborhood, in this city. 

This is not a place we would have chosen to land. The house is more than double the size of our previous one. The style of it is all wrong for us. Our neighbors are all elderly. No one gardens anything but flowers. Well-manicured flowers. The kind that bloom with the sole purpose of being immediately cut and plunked in a vase on a coffee table.

Have I ever mentioned that we don't actually own a coffee table?

But I digress. 

Here I am, adding bits of me--of us-- to this place. Claiming it, one step at a time. Finding my footing. Embracing the here and now. Letting the foreign, unsettledness of it fade and a new ease with my norm seat itself.

This morning, as we sat at breakfast, eagle-eyed Logan peered out the open French doors. In a shot, he was up, pushing the littles along with him, shouting for Seven to grab her magnifying glass. I admit that I was irritated. There is so much to get done today, I grinched. Can't we just get through breakfast so that you guys can go off and play and I can maybe, just maybe, get this kitchen totally set right?

But the kids were too fast for me, and before I could open my mouth to berate them ("You didn't ask to be excused!") I was hearing squeals of delight. Mani came racing back in, face already flushed, voice high and thin in his excitement.

"Spiders! Four spiders making webs right out there!"

I handed Reuven off to Jo (whose interest in spiders falls somewhere between "pour bleach in my eyes" and "I could vomit right now") and followed Mani out to the deck. As advertised, four small spiders were working industriously to fill in the frames of perfect, empty webs. Each went about his or her work, oblivious to all of the eyes observing, not to mention the exclamations.

"Look at how fast they work!"

"I can see his spinnerets!"

"How do they measure it all so perfectly?"

It was Seven who finally tugged me down to peer through her oversized magnifying glass and fully appreciate the beauty of the find. She waxed poetic on the sheer joy the spider must have in making something so fabulous. Then, thoughtfully, she puckered her sweet little lips and asked the most obvious question, as only an almost-three year-old can.

"Why do the spiders make the webs, Momma?"

And I had to answer her with the only truth I know, the only thing I have to cling to right now amidst these boxes and upturned schedules.

"It's their home, baby. They make them because it's their home."

"Oh!" she clapped, going up on her tip toes and shivering with that contagious, little girl joy. "They make them for their families!"

And this is how God used four spiders, an interrupted breakfast, and a precocious preschooler to remind me that while my eyes are cast ahead, following a greater, long-term goal, I must do this thing here, before me with as much enthusiasm. Why? Because it is my home. And it is for my family.


Anonymous said...

We don't have a coffee table either. :) I followed a link to read your Apologia review from a few years ago. I love your blog!

Anonymous said...

Good Afternoon,

I'm a fellow homeschool mother as well as the author of "Total Home Makeover: A 20 Day Plan to Renew Your Space & Spirit" published by Ambassador International and in all major bookstores.

I'm inviting a team of 100 to review my book in September. Each reviewer will receive a free copy of the book (with an option to do a giveaway and give a second copy to one of your readers). After the review is live, each reviewer will receive my Mom's Tool Kit valued at $299. You can learn more about the book and tool kit at

I'd love to have you on board! I look forward to hearing from you.

Warm Regards,

Renee Metzler

P.S. If you join our review team, please email me and include your full mailing address (so we can ship your book) and whether you want to complete a review or review/giveaway. Many thanks.

Jess Connell said...

This is the reason why my blog is so titled. Because I was "making home" again and again and again. Now you are doing it. I pray God's strength & encouragement lavished on you the way it was on me.