Friday, May 20, 2011

Home, Confidence, and Holes in the Wall

I've had a couple of odd thoughts flowing through my brain over the past few weeks.  Bear with me as I flesh them out on the old blog.  Two events in particular have prompted this internal monologue:

1. I read Young House Love pretty regularly and a few weeks ago John and Sherry posted about how long it takes for a house to feel like a home and whether it's time or personalization.  

2. Last weekend I called my mom on Mother's Day.  She was asking about renovations.  She said something that keeps floating through my brain.  She said that P and I were very brave to take a sledge hammer to our walls and just start creating holes.

When and why does a house start to feel like a home?  And am I brave because I'm comfortable dismantling parts of the house?  They seemed related question.  
For a long time, I would tell P that this house didn't feel like home. We have always pinched ourselves that we were able to buy this house.  We couldn't believe that we were able to afford and then have the opportunity to buy this place, in this unique neighborhood in the city, so close to everything. It seemed an incredible stroke of fate/luck/happenstance.   But, despite that, it didn't FEEL like home to me.  It didn't feel like MY home.  Home is an indefinable sense, almost an emotion unto itself.  It felt like a project.  It felt like work.  It felt like we were accomplishing something, but it didn't feel like home.  For the first year or so, I would ask P if this felt like "home" yet about every month or so. I think she felt like she was home sooner than I did.  

A few weeks ago, some close friends of ours who live in our old neighborhood invited us over for a backyard fire and visit.  We drove by the old house, of course.  I was HORRIFIED to see how they were taking care of my little old house.  I poured lots of hours of love, sweat, and blood into that yard.  And it looked like hell.  The gorgeous reticulated cedar had been butchered.  The grass needed cutting and it just made me sad.  But, it didn't make me feel like I had a home there.  It was just a house.  It was no longer my home.

And then my mom's statement.  Brave.  Neither P nor I thought twice about sledging out that wall to see if there was a rehabilitatable ice box there.  We had confidence in our skills, our house, and our ability to make it work.  
Bravery or stupidity?

So, to answer the question, it wasn't a single moment that made me realize I was at home in this house.  It was a series of smaller realizations.  Home is an emotion, like love, that grows in fits and starts, until one day your realize that it's taken over your whole life and has sucked all the money out of your wallet it's just home.


  1. I didn't have an intense attachment to the house we sold in Springfield, but after spending much time and money on grading, seeding and fencing the backyard...seeing vans and trucks parked in the backyard nearly undid me. Perhaps home really is where the heart is and disconnecting your heart from the old place is all part of the process.

  2. Rebecca, honestly, I had a harder time leaving the yard than the house. So, I get what you're saying. And, even still, it's painful to see the house neglected so today. The house wasn't anything special, just a 50s ranch, dime a dozen. But the yard, that was the home's crowning jewel. Bulbs, shrubs, trees, the fire pit, the hammock, the outdoor shower, and hot tub, it was the greatest place to hang out and I still miss it. I can't imaging seeing trucks and vans parked in the yard without losing my mind.