Home Is Where My Mom Is

I’m standing in the kitchen after our Thanksgiving dinner (in which the turkey turned out kind of tough, the apple-cranberry pie too juicy, and the rice pilaf an experiment in too much tarragon).  My daughter is washing dishes and she asks me if I have ever heard the statement “home is where my mom is”? I had not heard this before. 
She said that was how she felt in that moment, at home. Hearing her say this really touched my heart.
This statement has been in my mind ever since, making me question where home is for me, and what my friends would say to this. Perhaps the responses would all be different, just as I have found that the word home has many definitions.
Where is home to me? Is it here with my wonderful husband? Yes, and it is also… here I go, trying to pin it down, to give it one concise definition…but how can I? I also feel very much at home when in the presence of my daughter and her husband and son, or that of my own son and his beautiful wife. There is a comfort when I am in the presence of my dad and mom, my siblings, my extended family.
The definition that seems to resonate most with me says that home is “an environment offering affection and security”. How grateful I am that my childhood home fit this description, that my home I now share with my husband surrounds me with love and security. 
My childhood home in Illinois
Yes, home is a place, but isn’t it a spiritual place rather than a specific location? Isn’t home what we sense when we are so welcomed and loved by our friends or family that we can’t wait to go back there?  That place of love and acceptance, forgiveness and grace, that calls us to be just who we are. 
What are your thoughts? Fill in the blank: Home is where _____________ is.

Random Thoughts – On Welcoming Our Grandson

The longest drive (in my mind)
Text messages from my daughter
Phone calls along the way
(Embracing digital communication!)
Arriving in time
My daughter crying when she sees me
Me crying with her, tears of joy
The Grandparents Paparazzi
Our grandson, seen for the first time
Lots of loving arms
The sound of a newborn baby’s cry
Little fingers and toes
Garrett’s eyes
A new family
The look of being overwhelmed
Home, at the new little family’s home
Being Present
Soaking it all in
Fear when things don’t go as they should
Experiencing son-in-law and seeing him as husband,
father, protector, provider
My son-in-law walking in the door, seeing the dog
Being there.
Soup cooked, cookies and biscuits baked
(Grandma doing her own nesting)
Puppy kisses
Sun coming through the window
Baby booties that just don’t stay on
Precious little hands and feet
My daughter and her friend embracing, more tears
Breast pump, microwave sterilizer, bottles
Leave taking
Dreading to leave, to part
But knowing that leaving also means returning
The end of the pregnancy but the beginning of raising a child
The feeling of that baby’s head against my neck
The baby sounds
Tears, tears, tears
You’ll be okay, you’ll be okay.
Phenomenal experience
Seeing my son being the Uncle
His wife gently supportive and loving
Driving to our house, so far away
Measuring the hours, the distance
Thinking of them all the time
Finding all the text messages on my phone
Hugging my daughter and letting her cry
Being there to do that
Notes on pieces of paper
My list of what to pack when we get “the call”
The list by my daughter’s bed noting the timing of contractions
Being the grandma

Calling my own parents, the great-grandparents

Celebrating Home, Creativity, and Family

My first collage

Pictured here is a collage I have made with a favorite  oatmeal cookie recipe and my Grandma Handell’s photo. I love doing this! I have been inspired by Kelly Rae Roberts book, “Taking Flight.”  But more importantly, as I made this and put the different layers on it I thought about home making, about Grandma and what she taught me by example.

I saw a painting in the back of a craft magazine that touched me. An elderly woman is sitting in a stuffed chair, looking rather lonely and forlorn. The caption said something about not having anything else to create. I found it rather sad. This is what happened to Grandma in a way. Her eyesight failed due to glaucoma, her health and mobility failed and she was sooooo depressed that we could not reach her. Many of her last months, days, years were spent in the lazy boy chair by the phone. Waiting. No longer working with her hands.
One of Grandma’s braided rugs
In my garage is what remains of a wool braided rug that she made long ago. It is falling apart, probably stained from animals and bugs and who knows what…but I can’t bring myself to destroy it or throw it out. Because she created it, and I remember her doing it. This was a big deal; a huge table set up in her sun room just for the rug making. I helped her rip out part that was not sewn together right, and we both had blisters on our fingers from it. But I helped her. I helped her do something “grownup.”
Grandma Handell

Many of the quilts I slept under (pieces of which appear in my art now) were made from old dresses and shirts, even old wool coats. She used what she had. How can we ever know what all that time at the sewing machine did for her, what the countless yummy meals she cooked for family and friends caused her to think of, or how much she liked the look on our faces when she baked those oatmeal cookies or cinnamon rolls? Our lives were the better for it.

These pieces of art I created are celebrations of that which lives within. Learning to listen and wait for that instruction to come from the heart, seeing that it will work even though my head says maybe not, and learning to be content with the outcome. Being brave enough to share it with someone I love, or put it on display in my own home so others will see it.

I wonder if someday a grandchild of mine will be putting something I created into a memorial or put into a piece of art, or even think of it?  What kind of life do I want to live now? What kind of legacy do I need to leave behind when my journey in this body, on this earth, is finished?  Food for thought….