February 21, 2013

feeling "at home" takes time

a snowy day at our new place
I read a blog post recently that got me to thinking about one of the aspects of moving. She really got it right, talking about how it's the people that make a happy home, not remodeling and decorating.

Though I will qualify this by saying some decorating certainly helps when setting up in a new place. Otherwise it feels empty, lonely, foreign, not yours. We are experiencing that as we try to get settled in our new place. But mostly that has consisted of setting up stuff we already owned, stuff that was familiar, and especially family photographs. That's not the same as chasing happiness in the next new couch, or being so bogged down in home remodel projects that you don't have a chance to just be at home (anyone watch the episode of HGTV's Love It or List It that featured the show's own contractor?).

There's a quality of "feeling at home" that takes time. When we moved recently, we left a house we had lived in for 10 years. It was the only house my children knew, and the longest I had lived in one place as an adult. In fact, it was the longest my husband has ever lived in one house. I was comfortable there. We spent the last several years just hoping and trying to stay there. (I learned I'm very good at hanging on tightly to things I am basically happy with.) We had done a lot of remodeling in it, and I find myself missing the stuff that was exactly what I picked out. (I also learned that my tastes must be more stable now, I was still very happy with almost all my choices after many years, the tub with hard-to-clean jets being the exception!)

But what I miss most is how comfortable I felt there, that "feeling at home" quality. Being in a house that so many good memories were attached to. Surely that doesn't come from the right cabinets or floor or paint. It comes from time, from making memories together. It is sometimes hard for me to realize that even though that house is no longer ours, the memories we made there will always be ours (and that's why I love photos and scrapbooking, to help us remember). I know we will achieve that here too, with time, and I look forward to it! That is what makes a house feel like home.

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