Click here to listen to some music. It’s Indiana’s (United States) state song. A song from my childhood.
I was standing at our homeschool association’s annual track and field day event, chatting with another mom that I don’t know too well. We got to talking about how both of our families had moved a lot, mine around the United States and hers around the world. How we were both raised on family farms and had never moved until our college years. How much we adore our childhood homes and families there.
She plied me with questions. I’m usually the one full of questions, very intense, always hearing my mom’s voice in my head, “Terri, your questions scare people off…” But there’s just too much to learn. I can’t help myself. So I was tickled when she began asking me thinking questions. Here is one she asked.
She said, “You’ve moved around a lot like we have with your kids. How do you create HOME for them?”
How do you create home when you move around? This girl and me, we’re Midwestern farmers’ daughter (..we make you feel alright..). Home is the house. Home is the land. Home is the smell of the lilac tree at Mother’s Day. The fields after a rain. Your elderly neighbor Mabel sending you home with walnut laden cookies. And you hate black walnuts but you love Mabel. Your mom at the kitchen sink. Your dad and his muddy boots.
Yes! Yes! That’s home! For us, it’s scary to move our kids around. Are we ruining them? Robbing them of the stability we both experienced and treasured? We talked together, she and I, and I thought I’d share.
How to create home when you have no home.
Work MUSIC into your lives: My mom sang to me, lullabies, hymns and silly songs. Her singing was angelic despite her tone deafness. Her arms holding me. Her vibrating voice against my ear on her chest. Her rocking. Her going about life with a song, in the car and doing dishes. Oh, but it wasn’t just my mom! Dad played music
all the time in the car. Different music than Mom’s music. Loud music. Bob and Tom. Q95. ZZ Top. Jethro Tull. Always with his silly jokes tossed in. “What do you call a cat who can’t hear?”
The music of home. Music creates memories of home that travel through the years and spans all distance.
The comfort of ROCKING: My husband and I debated this one out. Is it the actual chair, or is it the action of rocking? We decided it can be either. But definitely the secure, strong, loving arms of mom, dad, or grandma rocking you feels good. When pain in life arises, sometimes you look back to the haven of that time when you were secure, loved, and protected in the arms of a special adult who rocked your cares away.
If your kids will let you, rock them to provide them a memory of home nobody can steal. If the chair can travel with you, take it.
Share MEAL TIMES AND SPECIAL FOODS: No matter where we live, we have to eat. We’ve struggled a lot with food intolerances in our house, and it has taken away a lot of our old, favorite recipes. I was afraid it would take away our “special foods.” But it hasn’t. We don’t sit around the table anymore with a pizza box in the middle, but you will find us sitting around the table eating together the work that our hands created. New foods. New combinations. New favorites.
Eating together and sharing food has to be one of the top memories from home, and it’s easily transferred to any location! Nothing stirs memories of home more than being greeted at the door by a home cooked meal.
Spending TIME TOGETHER OUTSIDE OR BEING ACTIVE: Being together is home. And to walk and be outside together in each environment you live in, appreciating it together, creates lasting memories. I know in the future, my kids will say things like, “Do you remember how hot it got in South Carolina?” “Do you remember how windy it always was on the prairie of South Dakota?” “Do you remember that little park we always walked to in Lexington, Kentucky?” I once remember the time my mom played tag with my dad, my sisters, and me. She never played much with us, but this evening she played tag. I remember it.
Home truly is people being together, in harmony with each other, doing things together.
Visit the FAVORITE PEOPLE WHO DON’T MOVE: Although we’ve moved a lot, my parents have never moved. There is something reassuring about this. When we say we’re going home to visit them, my kids know exactly what that means and what they’ll be doing. They know when we’re getting close by the landmarks.
Some people, some places are constant. And sometimes, constants are nice.
No discussion is complete without RELIGION: I have a young woman who helps me and feels like a part of our family. She has lived in 27 different places in her less than 30 years of life, from Colombia, South America to Israel to New York. Her religious background is pretty diverse too, but she relates to me that getting ready for synagogue together was important to her sense of “home.” It was a constant in each place her family lived. Getting ready each worship day together and going all together to the same place provides a sense of togetherness–a sense of continuity. Discussing the lessons learned (or disagreed with) in the car on the way home further fuels that sense of family.
Years will pass, but we often (usually?) draw on the religious experiences of our families.
Celebrate HOLIDAYS: Festive foods. Festive activities. Together.
Holidays travel with the calendar, not the location. Or maybe they travel with your heart and you can celebrate the holiday any day you wish.
Have a favorite VACATION spot: Even though we move around a lot, we often vacation to the same place each year to a treasured vacation spot. Years from now, my kids may travel back with their families to see if “it’s the same.”
Home is where the heart is. And vacation is always a good place to be. Eh?
What do you think? I hope my blog is found to be a place to share ideas and thoughts. I would love to hear what you think about home. Are people who move around a lot better at change? Are people who don’t move more stable? Does it probably not matter either way–and people just are who they are? Is it important to instill a sense of “home?” What instills a sense of “home” best? How do you create “home” for your family? Is home an “energy?” If home is an energy, then are we all being called home?
And lastly, what is a cat who can’t hear? Careful, it bites.