I lived in many houses as a child—everything from a very crowded studio apartment, to a fishing boat, to an abandoned mink farm with no electricity or plumbing. I have also had the myriad of college houses, starter homes and the like. My house now is a constant work in progress.
But home is something different.
It is in my kids’ shy-proud smiles, the way they look for me in the audience when they do something great. My home is nestled between busy moments, it looks like my husband and it feels like holding hands. Home smells like smoked fish, lilacs and diesel. When I go home, it is not to my address, but rather to a place inside of me that is anchored by my family and friends and memories. It could be anywhere.
And even more startling is that now I am home to my sons. And sometimes I think I am a bad home. I get busy, distracted, sloppy, lazy, frustrated, tired. I sometimes want more for my kids than I am up for. The fear that I am not what they need is icy cold and terrifying.
But in spite of that fear, this is my most important job. I am their home. My arms. My eyes. My applause. My support. My consistency. My unconditional everything. They will not lose me. After the rocky patches pass, and the fear thaws, I will be right beside them. I resist the urge to hold them forever or to wish them smaller or bigger than they are. Now I grab them in passing as their world opens up, get my hugs in and send them on their way. Our home is one of band-aids, food for friends and good music and board games and hard work. The home that I am is flawed and frightened and wildly in love with the two little boys, both with eyes like mine. I hope they can see me as I see them.
This piece was originally published in Mamalode Magazine's print issue themed HOME.