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I don't have a home.
Somewhere between moving to the farm, moving off the farm, moving back into town, housesitting for a dear friend, and moving back in with my parents, this realization struck me. Hard.
It spilled out one night after Athena had gone to bed when Brian and I started talking about this thing or that and somehow we started talking about when we would like to have another child, where we would like to be. It was a casual conversation, there was no definite planning or strong opinions coming from him. We were simply talking. And I realized, the idea of having a second child was completely terrifying to me.
It was beyond terrifying, it was immobilizing.
But why? I was honestly shocked by my own response. Ever since I was a very little girl I always thought I would want to have children, and lots of them. I never wanted to parent an only child. I still don't. I want Athena to have siblings. None of this explains the tears that started when I confessed to Brian the terror I felt at the idea of being pregnant again. I had never felt happier than when I was pregnant with Athena. I literally felt pure bliss for the nine months I was pregnant with her. I've never eaten healthier, felt better, or felt like I had more of a clear purpose than when I was pregnant with her. This response was the opposite of what I felt that night Brian and I were talking. Yet, it was there, and try as I could to explain it away as "hormones" or "that time of the month" or all the "stress" I'd been under, something I hadn't yet articulated was there. And that's when it struck me.
I don't have a home.
I have a loving husband who doesn't stress out during transitions, a daughter who is mostly content no matter where we are as long as she is loved and fed. It was me who was beginning to realize something-- something bigger than the stress of living in three different locations over the course of two weeks.
As a child who grew up with parents who loved me, home was wherever they were. I never placed much value in a physical location since we rented multiple houses throughout my growing up years. Home was that place I could go and sit and talk with mom, dad or my brothers. Home was that place I wanted to be anywhere but when I was a teenager (that is until things got too intense with my friends, and then I wanted to be only at home...). Home was where the people I knew well, knew and loved me, too.
And then I met Brian.
And he became my home. And I became his. And we promised each other that would be the way it was forever and a day. And then Athena joined our home. And every day and every night we are her home. No matter where we are. And that's beautiful. And it works. And we can move with her or travel with her and she transitions. And it works.
But the idea of moving and traveling with two kids, of living in three different places over two weeks with two kids, that seemed like too much, I thought. That's what brought the tears, I thought. It was too overwhelming to even think about.
The truth was deeper than that, though. Because truth be told I do want two kids, or even more. And when they get here, I could manage as many transitions as I needed to. Of course it wouldn't be easy, but most things in life aren't... So the number of children wasn't the real issue, either.
What I was really feeling was dissatisfaction with where we are in our lives. We have no space to call our own, truly our own. But, that's normal for us, for us Americans. Most of us go our adult lives with never having a space that is truly our own. We rent, or pay mortgage, never truly owning where we rest our head at night.
But that's not what I want for me, for my family, for my child, for my some day children. But I may never have what I want, and that's very hard for me to accept. I am no longer a child who gets to feel that home is wherever mom or dad are. I am now the homemaker, who along with Brian, creates the home: for us, for Athena, and for any other children we bring into this life. And that's a lot of responsibility. And that's a lot to accept and a lot to let go of all at the same time.
I don't have my own a house, or my own land, or my own roof that I helped build over my head, or even my own kitchen right now, and maybe I will never have any of these things, but in one very real sense I have a home and will always have a home. But it's not a home that will exist whether or not I am there to put energy into it, because I am its co-creator. After all, it's not the physical location that Athena or her some day siblings will remember as being "home", just like it's not for me either. If the old adage is true that "home is where the heart is", then I guess my responsibility right now is no matter where I am, to open my heart wide enough to let my family in.