Hearing the word HOME brings up different pictures and emotions for each of us. For some of us it is a place we long for, a place we feel safe and fully seen. That is what I think it is meant to be for all of us! Whether home is a physical location for you or a group of people it is an anchor that holds in the chaotic world in which we live.

My parents bought the home I grew up in several months before I was born. It was my home for my entire childhood. We knew all the neighbours and did life together through the seasons and changes. They moved out of that house while I was in the hospital having my first child. I never got to say goodbye. I remember having a few emotional moments in the next few months as I grieved the loss. (I may also have been hormonal and had baby brain, which didn’t help me be logical about the situation).

My parents new home seemed strange and awkward and I didn’t know the neighbourhood. But it wasn’t my home, I had my own home with my husband. In contrast to my parents rock solid stability we moved 17 times in the first 12 years of our marriage. When my oldest daughter started Grade 2 it was her third school and ninth home.

That’s when you realize that home isn’t always about the four walls that encompass us.

My parents new home became an anchor because they were there. The actual building became familiar and the neighbourhood became inviting. It became home, even though I never lived there. We even moved into a place a few blocks from them for a season until we bought our own home.

Home can be the people where you are known and loved. As we changed locations we tried to provide that anchor for our kids in spite of the transitions. We’ve stayed put for the last 17 years now and feel anchored in our community.

The other mothers first home was in a country other than Canada. I believe her journey included a few countries before she married and immigrated to Canada. What anchored her? And when her world unraveled she had no anchor to hold her in the storm. Her children are “homeless” in the midst of their journey. Although they have had 4 walls in various places they do not have the security that I have enjoyed. They have never experienced the true meaning of the word HOME.

I have seen the evidence that they are beginning to be anchored here. Their relief at finally being “home” when we’ve been out for the weekend. The fact that they are finally relaxing and even being grumpy because they feel it’s safe here. The casual way they now use the terms Grandma and Grandpa to refer to our parents. Even the fact that they are starting to make plans for Christmas presents in the assumption that this is their new normal. 

I am attending a Remembrance day assembly at the school today. Whatever your feelings may be towards the wars that Canada has been involved in, I will stop to remember. There were those who were willing to sacrifice to secure HOME for people who did not live in Canada. The wars we fought in were not to save our homeland, but to fight for others. Our country doesn’t bear the physical scars of a world war, but it bears many emotional ones. For many who now call Canada home there was a different experience of war. It is sobering.

So I will be thankful for my home. And I will choose to share it with others.

In the midst of the mess


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