My friend, Maya, invited me to participate in a collaborative group called "The Living Home".
As she explains, "The Living Home is both a gift and a thank you. It's whole-hearted reciprocation for this international community, the diverse inspiration you provide, and the warmth you create in your homes. If there's anything this world needs to thrive, it's families that wake to love, presence and nourishment. In that image, there's so much hope."
As a firm believer that the home is a sanctuary and the birthplace of all good things, I accepted the invitation. Also, I'll run, jump and scale tall buildings to play with Maya. She is pure magic.
My definition of home has evolved over the 15 years I've been a homemaker. In the beginning, I thought our home should look like the pages of my favorite magazines and catalogs, and I worked to make it so. When children entered the scene, so did primary colors. Stains took the place of throw pillows on the sofa, plastic toys competed for floor space and family photos replaced breakable pottery on the mantle.
The lived in preschool look only lasted a few years. Eventually my children outgrew their toys, learned to wash their hands and began to express opinions over which photos of them could be displayed. Chapter books replaced board books, and stacks of drawing paper and buckets of crayons took up permanent residence at the dining table.
Change came again when my children grew taller than me. They disappeared into their bedrooms behind closed doors. iPods and ear buds replaced Kidz Bop cds. Double mattresses replaced bunk beds. Hanging out replaced play dates. Curling wands replaced dolls. I unsubscribed from Magic Cabin and put a few vases back on the mantle.
For a short time, I mourned the passing of their childhood and resisted their emerging adolescence; but then I discovered the freedom that accompanies evolution and change. As my growing children demand more privacy and autonomy, I receive my own as well. They explore their interests and passions, and so do I. In the living home, there is room for everybody to grow and expand.
Today, The Living Home is . . .
three different types of music playing at the same time.
a stronger router to deliver greater bandwidth.
an invitation to the dinner table without insistence that everybody shows up (but silent gratitude when they do).
a trip to Ikea for new bedding with the belief that everybody will sleep better under a duvet pattern of their choice.
a cabinet full of tea and three different types of milk in the refrigerator.
a garage where dad can disappear to tinker and think.
comic books that are graphic enough to make a mother cringe, but engrossing enough to make a boy choose to read rather than play video games.
a front door that is always open to friends.
back to back episodes of America's Funniest Videos, because the family that laughs together spends hours in the same room together.
walls with patches of paint, and a family's patience for a mother who needs change but can't make up her mind.
no alarm clocks, and acceptance that a teenager's natural sleep cycle is very different from a middle aged adult's sleep schedule.
more laundry baskets, because it's easier to live out of a basket than to stuff clothes into drawers.
finding my missing workout pants in my daughter's room.
a mom who disappears for a few hours a day to be an athlete and a coach.
sandwich making ingredients on hand, always.
a bowl of fruit and access to permanent markers.
Care to play along? Tell me, how does your home live?