Have you ever tried to imagine your home through the eyes of a guest?
As if I were a visitor in my own home, I stood just inside the doorway to our house. I tried to imagine what you would see if you came for a visit. My back leaned against the front door and my eyes struggled to be fresh again.
I saw the colors I love — the greens, yellows and reds. I notice on the walls of the entry-statement artwork which appear to be a jumbled combination of prints from Hobby Lobby, Kirkland’s or antique stores. I smile when I whisper to myself, “pick a designing lane, Eleanor.” Then I focus on my most recent obsession — leaded stained glass windows. Two of them hang in our foyer, near the HOPE sign I picked up from Michael’s.
I shifted my weight from one leg to the other and listened to the Grandmother clock tick. I decide that I’ll wait for the chime on the next quarter hour. A personal challenge of being still long enough to feel what I’m feeling. As I wait, I’m satisfied that old mixed with new seems to work in this space. At least for us, it does.
But looking past the obvious pieces...taking a moment to see more than the furniture, the art, or the floor design layout, I began to notice the home. I’m no longer a visitor but a mother with her memories of toddlers running the track loop of the kitchen - the dining room - the foyer, again and again.
I remember my son coming down the stairs in a jacket and tie for his first homecoming dance and wince when I remember the part of the night that ended in his first real heartbreak. I think he’s over it but my pain still feels sharp in my chest.
I remember my daughter coming home from her first sleepover- dragging her bag and clutching her pillow then dropping them both and hugging me so tightly. I can still feel her tears on my arm. She was brave. She had a good time but she needed the release of relief of being home.
I notice the gift of a professional portrait my husband surprised me with for Mother’s Day many years ago. I can still hear the children’s complaints of standing on a sidewalk in a picturesque historic neighborhood in the middle of summer when we finally schedule the appointment. I smile when I think “Oh the horror of pictures with your sibling.”
I see the notes on the fridge reminding us of ACTs and upcoming college visits. The boy child’s car needs an oil change. The girl starts drivers ed soon. The calendar full of adult things my teens are scheduled for but to me they still feel like they’re 7 and 8.
I can imagine them even younger, dressed in their best while sitting at the piano, pressed side by side waiting to go to church on Easter. Their tiny little fingers exploring the out-of-tune notes and giggling at the funny sounds they created.
How many times have we laughed in this house? A lot.
When have we cried? Probably a little more than we should have....but we found healing.
Been angry enough to slam a door and rattle the prints from hanging straight on the wall? Hopefully a lot less than what’s normal these days.
A visitor may find that our house looks presentable even if it’s a little dog-hair-dusty. Welcoming, even if there’s not a ton of snacks, but they there’s no way they can see all the memories made here — but hopefully they won’t overlook the love.