Monday, August 20, 2012

Ignore My "House" and Come Into My "Home"

I've been "away" again...between babysitting and my girl on summer vacation from school it seems I just haven't had the time or energy to sit down and write. In fact, I haven't much felt like writing and figured that if I did it'd probably be whiny and nobody would want to hear it. (To be honest, at times I get sick of listening to myself!)

Although the temperatures have been warm, the sun has done quite a bit of shining and I've had some fun times with the family, I just haven't quite felt 100%. I think I'm in my mid-winter slump in the middle of August! NOT good.

Lately, I have been having a little trouble counting my blessings, remaining thankful and refraining from the earthly longings for something more or something better. Especially when it comes to my house. 14 years ago this month, we moved into this house with great expectations. It was our OWN house, it was cheaper than rent and it needed our love and TLC: a lot of TLC! Our plans were to enjoy home ownership, fix it up and move on to a bigger, better house in the country. (Remember my dream of my multiple children playing behind the picket fence with the dog in our large, lush yard?!?) Fast forward to 2012...we're still here...the list of projects to accomplish is still here and longer than ever...we still share a driveway with the apartment house... Apparently, plans change but wishes and dreams don't always.

Last evening proved to be a bit of a breaking point and I had a little meltdown. There was no major disasters or tragedies but it just hadn't been the best day ever. As I climbed on the lawn chair to reach and put our market umbrella down (the joys of being short!), under the pressure of my weight (which isn't a great topic right now, either) the cushion gave way and went through the slats. So did my leg! I'm happy to report there was no injury other than to my ego and my mood. But, yet, I burst into tears.

Next came the break in the ceiling light panel in the kitchen. Leaving the room, my eyes fixed on the crack in the hardwood dining room floor. I approached the living room where my girl was sitting in her makeshift fort she had built out of sheets, yarn, clothespins and furniture. Again, the longing...why couldn't we just have a family room so she wouldn't be making it difficult to maneuver through the house?

The chipping paint, the lack of closet space, the knotty pine kitchen, the cracks in the floor...I've really been struggling lately to be thankful for this old house of mine (a blessing so many are without).

Tears still streaming from my tired eyes, my girl asked me to come sit with her. I guess I haven't been discreet enough about my longings. As I climbed under the fort, I heard her little voice ask, "Do you wish we had a bigger, nicer house?"
"Every day," I replied without thinking. "I don't!" she said. "We've made so many memories here. You carried me through that door as a baby and when I grow up and leave, THAT is the door I want to walk out and return through. This is my home. Our home. We've made memories, we make memories and we'll make more. HERE."

The tears multiplied and ran ever faster down my cheeks.

She gets it. She sees past it. It's her home: flaws and all!

If only I could quit seeing it as the fixer-upper house that'll never be enough and instead work on my fixer-upper attitude to see it as the home that it is: overflowing with love.

Having struggled for so many years (since I was a little girl) with comparisons that have threatened to steal my joy (and perhaps been successful at times), I desire nothing more than to see it as my precious daughter does. To stop wishing for more. To stop comparing myself and my possessions to those around me. To stop being afraid to let people in to my life and my home for fear that they will think less of me if they saw the flaws in my house and even worse yet, in me.

So now that I've showed you what's in my head, maybe someday I'll invite you into my messy, fixer-upper house to share my love-filled home, my imperfections and a pot of coffee with you. Remember...please ring the new doorbell that finally got purchased and installed and ignore the dog hair on the rug, the mismatched mugs and the fact that most likely I've burnt the cookies!

P.S. My girl read over my shoulder as I wrote this post and gave me a lecture about friendship:
"A true friend doesn't care how you or your house looks or what you own. They want to be your friend because you are YOU, not because you act like someone else. They come to have fun with you NOT criticize you."

Do you struggle with comparison, insecurity and longing for more? Have you ever been struck by the wisdom of your child(ren)? Feel free to share your own thoughts, struggles, etc. in the comments.