Home brings to mind some things. When I watch the news after work the word home finds its way into almost every news story. Except the homes they speak of depress me, each one displaying a new way to create brokenness, dysfunction, and abuse. I suppose I’m one of those people that wishes the evening news reported on far happier events. With each negative news story about moms locking their kids in car trunks, dads smacking around the moms, boyfriends shooting their girlfriends, and kids busted for meth an inappropriate set of family values gets reinforced. Recently I find that the detergent and delivery pizza commercials promote better family values that the news does. Why watch it? I grew up feeling like my home was and always will be safe wherever my parents happen to be, they’ll welcome me. Of course, no home is perfect unless you’ve seen that Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman movie about the witches one too many times. Storms blow in and out during those teenage years, but the love stays on. Sounds kind of corny now doesn’t it?
Little things help cement the beginnings of defining a home with love and trust. Things start with hanging family pictures in the living room one weekend, and my own prints on the walls in the bedroom a few days later. Getting the kids to clean glass and pound nails into the wall gives them something to do and a sense of belonging to the home. They have a say in all things. The next weekend puts a bed frame where it should be and removes those last few lingering moving boxes. Storing clothes in boxes just looks like a sloppy way to live.
Sometimes I sit over the checkbook wondering how to scrape just a little bit more to add a few more household items. Saturday I just bit the bullet and came home with collapsible, changeable, metal storage units. Now when I put clean clothes on her dresser, I walk into a kid’s room, not just an empty feeling space where things are crammed in any which corner. Centerfolds displaying muscle cars ripped out of Hot Rod magazine cover the wall. Books and knick knacks now have new homes. An old bowl shaped margarita glass now overflows with broken sea shells, mussel shells, and a starfish. The butterfly chair nestles in between the bed and the dresser. Stuffed horses and bunnies sprawl over a makeshift coffee table made from another storage box filled with Christmas decorations. It’s nice to see her make a home of her room now that she has all the pieces to do it with. Although now she’s determined to get a reading lamp for next to her bed.
When the nine loads of laundry, the popcorn kernels in the carpet, and the mud all over the kitchen floor really get to me, I can still smile about the fact we have a home, even if it’s not a perfect one.