Feels Like Home

Sitting on the back porch enjoying relaxing solitude, I observed a man quietly washing two cars. Then a woman and 3 little girls came out to see when he would be ready for lunch. Mama said, "You're washing my car? How amazing are you?" And the dad replied, "It's a great day for it. It's relaxing." But then the 2 oldest girls squealed, "Can we help?!" I smiled to myself, as I knew from my own father's experience with his daughters that this car washing was about to become very un-relaxing. I couldn't help but remember the time my father let me "help" paint the house when I was 5 years old. I smashed the paintbrush over the wood, and later had to be washed in the bathtub with paint thinner, as more paint ended up on me than the house. This father washing his car quickly went from relaxed to trying to hide the frustration in his voice, while keeping his daughters from climbing on the roof of the car, splashing water where it wasn't supposed to be, etc. I think he was relieved when they lost interest after a grand total of 8 minutes, and went back inside.

I fell asleep on the couch last night, and awoke with a start around 2 a.m. My husband was nowhere to be found in our small apartment, so I headed to the only place he could be, and found him sitting on the back porch, still wrestling with work issues as he is on call this weekend. I leaned into him and put my head in his lap, still not really awake. He told me how much he loves the quiet of our back porch, the soft wind chimes in the breezes, and the feeling of getting away. Not awake enough to appreciate his musings, I went to bed, but I returned to the back porch this morning, with a cup of coffee and Bible in hand. It is funny because last night when he was saying how nice it was, I countered it's not "open," not like where I grew up open. Middle-of-nowhere Michigan open, with fields and woods as far as the eye can see, more lawn than you could ever know what to do with, and the nearest neighbor lives half a mile away. While I have loved this back porch for all the relaxing times and intimate conversations we have had here, I think I realized for the first time this morning how much it indeed, feels like home. Which is so odd to say because it is so very different from "home." Looking around I see endless rows of brick and mortar, back porches and ware houses, parking lots and alleys. Cement without a blade of grass in sight, unless you count the weeds growing along the side of the garage. But the sun, the breezes, the wind chimes and the church bells, the little family doing family things, the somehow insulated realm that makes the cars seem further away than they actually are, and the pervasive smells of spring, does lend a hidden away quality to our tiny back porch.

Perhaps the old adage, "Home is where the heart is," is actually true. Spring has always been my least favorite season, because it was often so drab and rainy, cold and mushy. But this spring has grown on me (no pun intended). Days like today typically bring to mind so many wonderful memories of home, where I first fell in love with all things outdoors. When reveling in the beauty of it all, the feeling of the warm sun on my face and the scents carried on the cool breezes, I recall so many happy spring memories I have filed away. As I scroll through the moments and memories they are mostly at my parent's home, walking down the dirt road, cold mud squishing between my toes. Or hearing the birds sing while hanging clean sheets on the line to dry. But then came a memory I didn't expect, spring, at my in-law's home. I was both surprised and delighted to realize I have known my husband long enough that happy and home now includes memories of his home too. A home where I did not grow up has become home to me, or at least is becoming an indelible part of me. I wonder if space has nothing at all to do with it, only time. Or perhaps the people you share it with, who hold so much of your heart that no matter where you are, if you're with them, you will always be home.  

Comments

  1. "...the people you share it with, who hold so much of your heart that no matter where you are, if you're with them, you will always be home."

    So true!

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