Thursday, September 11, 2014


Today, these boys are 8 years old.  I'm not sure where the time has gone, or where I have gone with it, but here we are.  

I was just in the kitchen, chopping up stuff for their favorite meal.
I picked up balloons earlier and hung birthday streamers.
There are wrapped presents on the table.

This is the first birthday with a big difference -- in that their dad and I aren't together any more.  They are all gone with him right now, having lunch and hiking, and it gave me quiet time to prepare for celebrating with them this evening.

I was listening to an mp3 sent to me of a favorite Christmas piece (I's September), playing it over and over and over.  I have been a little sick for my dad the past couple of weeks.  

He has been on my mind a lot, and I have pondered on his influence and love and the sweet relationship that I share with him. 

And for some reason, as I stood there chopping, I started to think about the sounds of home.  My childhood home recently sold, a home our family had for 35 years.  
So much of me, so much of what molded me, took place in that space.  

What were the familiar sounds?

Hearing the back door open and close.
Working in the kitchen and hearing the quiet of night and crickets outside the open back door.
Frequent fire engines and ambulances, since we lived on a main thoroughfare in town.
Brahms Intermezzos.
Bubbling water from the canner on the stove, full of something yummy.
The fire crackling on winter nights.
Indigo Girls.
Christmas carols.
Pinochle bidding.
People talking around a warm and tastily bedecked table.
Talk of ideas.
The music of Bach.
My mother's voice, reading to me as a child.
Box fans in the window of my childhood bedroom, hearing the cars drive by below and watching the lights from the headlights drift across my ceiling.
Rakes swishing across the lawn and through leaves as I worked with my father on fall nights, raking in the cold.
Hearing the lawnmower on a Saturday morning and smelling the grass through my window.
Quiet plodding in the earth outside, planting food, harvesting food, admiring its beauty.
Hymn singing.

And there are other things...

The smell of candles.
The aroma of apple butter in the fall, filling the house with cloves and cinnamon and making you feel as tho you were wrapped and comforted in a lovely sweater.
Food, always food.  Growing up in a house with really great food is about more than just the eating, enjoyable though it is.
Purple bathroom tile.

Christmas time.

In my little house now, the sounds are frequently noisy and busy, and not a lot of quiet -- which I tend to crave.  
What will my people remember about this place?  
What will be significant to them about home?  
It's funny -- 
I am a very flawed, very imperfect mother, trying hard to create something beautiful, to create food and warmth and work and memories that they will hold onto.  
In some ways, the home I came from was broken.  I remember, during the time when my parents were struggling and before their separation, feeling as tho I might not ever feel happy again.  I didn't know if it would ever feel okay.  
Now, looking back, I see a lot of beauty in that broken.  
I see a lot of love and dedication.  
I see my beautiful parents, who were living their lives with courage and strength and doing the best they could under heavy, trying loads.  
I feel the lessons, deep inside, that I have learned from them -- both in conversation, and from observing them living their lives.  
This makes me want to shout with gratitude, in the same way that it fills me with nostalgia and emotion, because it's tender.  
I see five children, who have a love for each other today that is tight-knit and palpable, sisters who love to be together.  
I see so much that is formative and beautiful.

It was home.

It still is home.

I still find myself there, and understand myself better in her company.

I continue to be schooled by that famous statement by Pres. Harold B. Lee: “The most you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home.” 

I know I am imperfect; broken, even.  

And this is a noisy, crazy, busy, sometimes pulled-in-too-many-directions-and-stresses time, in some ways.  But my growing-up-house must have been that way too, at some point.  And today, in the quiet, that isn't what I remember.  I remember all these reminiscences, and more.  The meaning is tangible and starkly highlighted.  
In the trying and the traditions and continual planting, I find my greatest joy in home.

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