Home Sweet Home

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Home. There’s nothing like it. It can be a feeling that certain memories conjure up. A picture from when you were 5 that takes you right back. Smells from the kitchen during Christmas-time. Whatever home is for you, you know it when you feel it.

My childhood house was sold a few years ago. I was a married adult with 4 kids when this happened. I had been away from the house for 12 years. Yet, it hurt to say goodbye. And everytime I go back to my hometown, I get sad when I pass by this place I called home for so long.

Is it because of the structure,  paint color, or swimming pool out back? Yes and No. I miss that house because of what it represents. 

You see, the structure provided stability to my ever-wandering teenage self. It gave me a foundation to hold on to when boys broke my heart. I may have been a restless soul but I never left without the possibility of return. It never even occurred to me to leave it for good. Yet I did drift away for many years, forgetting how amazing that strong house had been to me. That’s what a good framework does, though. It gives you a solid covering but never forces you to stay under it.

The paint color throughout the house, well, it changed almost as much as my whimsical personality. And I loved that. The more paint that went up, the more freedom I felt to be me. I was, after all, the carefree one with a variety of hairstyles/colors to show for it. Each layer of paint stood for a season in our lives, good or bad. My bedroom was a sunny yellow though, because that had always been my favorite color. The yellow stayed on my walls because, despite the different seasons, I never forgot what made me “me.”

Lastly, the swimming pool in the back yard stands for too much to put into words. Afternoons laying out on a float listening to country music on the radio. Night swims with my high school friends. Deep conversations barely heard above the chirping crickets. Laughing with my sister as we joked about past crushes and how our lives turned out so differently than we thought they would. Mom and dad holding hands on the porch. This pool was an escape, a welcomed time of rest and play, and a distraction from the haunting reality that life would inevitably throw our way a few years down the road.

Home. It’s more than just a word that evokes an emotional response. It’s a way of living that you get to keep in your heart long past the day you move out. A knowing deep down inside that those doors and fences were meant for you to continue to grab hold of even after you leave. They have erected themselves anew in my grown up soul. And no matter where I live, those walls are a part of me. Because those people are a part of me. And no amount of new paint can ever change that.

Some may call this nostalgia or say that I’m just homesick. But I say, forgetting where you come from means you don’t really know where you are going.

photo credit: Wooden door and wooden sleigh via photopin (license)
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Comfort Food

photo credit: Kraft Dinner. Canada's national food. via photopin (license)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most nostalgic meals of my childhood would have to be macaroni and cheese…with hot dogs in it. My dad even had a song he would sing when he was making it to get us excited about the very simple and inexpensive dinner.

“Macaroni and cheese (macaroni and cheese),

that’s what I like (that’s what I like)!”

He would sing each phrase and my sister and I would echo them back in similar fashion. Over and over and over again… My dad could make a song out of anything. In fact, I’ve been told I do the same thing.

What’s funny is that he was trying to get us excited over this dish because it was all we could afford at that time in my young life. We weren’t rolling in the dough by any means. Did my sister and I even notice the slim pickings, though? Nope. We never cared that it was a cheap, quick fix meal. In fact, we loved eating it (even if it was 2 or 3 times in one week!)

I have such great memories of my dad singing cheerily in the kitchen. I remember helping him stir the pot with the noodles and gooey cheese. All I can do is smile when I think about those times.

And, isn’t that really what life is supposed to be about anyways? Being positive in the midst of the not-so-positive situations? Turning little into much by serving it with LOVE?  My parents may not have had a lot of money at that time but they were happy. We were happy. 

So, I gladly make this warm and comforting dish for my children in an effort to somehow, someway, show them that life is in the living, not in the having. And I can only pray that they will look back on these days of frugal living with their own little ones and pass on the gift of macaroni and cheese with hot dogs in it.