Every so often, usually when I am driving in the car and looking at the beautiful homes that I pass, I get a little resentful and sad. I begin to feel like I will never own a real house, let alone my dream home. It makes me feel like a failure as a mother because I have always had this picture in my head of my kids growing up in this perfect house, and then bringing their kids to visit us there as we grow old. I picture my kids in a big back yard, having barbeques, and having sleepovers with their friends in a cozy family room. I picture us taking a photo in the same spot every year at Christmas, and my children always going to the same school because we never want to leave our perfect home.
I never had that as a kid. We moved around a lot, and neither one of my parents was able to buy a house until they were divorced an remarried, and by then I was nearly a teenager. I never really minded much, but I still have that image of what I want for my kids.
Today I had an epiphany. I don’t have a “childhood home” that I can visit, but that doesn’t matter. My mom moved into her current house right around when Leah was born. I had already lived on my own for a couple of years by then, and yet I am as comfortable there as in my own house, and it’s because she is there.
No matter what is going on, I am always welcome at mom’s house. I usually call, but I know I could just show up if I needed or wanted to. If no one were home I could let myself in. I can go there if I need food, shelter, or just a hug. I bring my daughter there to visit quite often and she loves it. But the reason she loves it is not the physical place. It is the love, and it is the people. Those are the reasons I feel so at home there, too.
It doesn’t matter that I never ran through the halls as a child, or that I never sat in that dining room to do my homework. It doesn’t matter that my date did not pick me up there for the prom, and it doesn’t matter that none of the bedrooms were ever covered in posters of my favorite bands. All that matters is that my mom makes that house feel like home, just by opening it up to me always, and by being there herself.
I still hope to have my dream house someday, of course. But now I know, even if we can’t make that happen until our children are grown, we can always make it home to them as well, because WE are their home.