I have been working from home for almost a year. In that time, my daily routine has changed dramatically. Instead of rushing out the door at an ungodly hour to get into the craziness of morning rush hour, I instead, leave the house around 8:40 with my youngest daughter as we make the very short walk to the school yard where I drop her off and carry on my merry way.
Sometimes after we part ways I indulge and go for a brisk 40 minute walk to clear my head, get my exercise in and enjoy the good weather, other times I hop into my car and head off to a business meeting or sometimes I just return home and begin my day of emails and other correspondence.
It’s those times when I return home that I realize that there is a clear distinction between a house and a home.
When I walk through the front door of my house and close the door, the first thing I notice is how incredibly quiet everything is. The normal craziness of a house populated with my wife and two young daughters has completely stopped.
Sometimes, I walk into each of my daughter’s rooms (to put away laundry, make their bed or generally straighten up their rooms which are often very messy). I notice the indentation in the pillow of where there head was while they slept or my younger daughter’s favorite “pinky” (her blanket) that she sleeps with, lying in a ball on her unmade bed. I notice the pictures, posters, clothing, lotions and potions scattered in their room. I realize that when these things are just left on their own, they are meaningless. They are just objects. However, when my daughter’s are in their rooms, interacting with these things, I realize that they are all integral parts of who they are. Every object and item has a story to it (where it was bought, why it was bought, who bought it for them, what was the significance of it?).
I move through the halls of our home and realize that a house that is not filled with the people you love the most is really just a house. A home is where love is. Its where people are…where they interact and engage with each other.
Looking at the dining room on our main floor this morning, I realized that mere days ago, it was filled with eight 11 year olds who were invited to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. It was a loud, crazy, sugar-high infested group. Today, it sits empty..just a space with a bunch of objects in it that resemble a dining room.
These are tough times we live in. People left, right and centre are losing their houses because they have fallen on hard times (losing a job being the main culprit). While my little family has its challenges, I am encouraged by the possibilities that lie before me and am extremely confident that we will turn the corner headed in the right direction.
But as we continue on our journey, I think about what our lives would be like if we weren’t living where we are now. What if we had to move? Would it really matter? Yes, of course, many memories have been made in this house. A family was started in this house. Our two daughters were conceived and raised in this house. We have shared many laughs and many tears in this house. We have entertained with dear family and friends in this house. But, these are memories that are ours and they don’t belong to this house. These memories are portable. They can be taken any where we choose to go because we experienced them all together. It doesn’t matter that they took place in this house. They could have taken place anywhere else.
Home is wherever my family is. The four of us are home. A house is just a bunch of wood, brick, dry wall, wires and pipes assembled together to create a structure in which we live.
Home is family.