Love and Home

Doorway to English class

Love and Home
Is home the familiar place you land each night, or is home where your family gathers? I’d questioned this after being away from my home to attend the very successful and gratifying West Coast ISNA Education Forum recently in Anaheim, California, and also pursuant to shuffling several consecutive days between my home to cook the daily dinner, sleeping at my elderly father’s home to care for his needs, and working a temporary teaching assignment at my former school.
There are the comforting aspects of my home, like my own bed, my routines, seeing my husband and kids in our identified abode, known as home. Somehow, checking in over the telephone was not the same as face-to-face verification that they were healthy and happy.
Yet, while I evaluate, again, the prospect of getting the house ready for sale, I ponder if changing the familiar place in exchange for another is risking the setting that bonds us. If I move, will I disrupt that feeling of being home? Will I regret my decision? Or could it be that home is wherever the people I love are?
My extra few days to enjoy the companionship of friends in Redondo Beach and Glendale, California were enjoyable. Spending time with my dad in the home where I was raised was equally comfortable. Going back to teach in my former school, but in the new building addition, has also been touching a familiar chord. These clues may indicate that home is wherever the people I love are. The adage “home is where the heart is” comes to mind.
Could it be that with every place we go we may leave some favored aspects behind, but we can also create or design new niceties? I believe so; as life is full of change, the adaptable are those who thrive.
Fear may hold us back from opportunity if we are not open to new experiences, and that may mean that happiness may be unrealized. Yet, we never know. I recall many people who have left Chicago only to return because they tried some place new and did not find it to be better for them. Often times, they cited the fact that they missed their family and friends. Therefore, perhaps the strategy when relocating is to meet new people, contribute to the community, and grow new roots. Nice people can be found everywhere, and each new place needs leaders who can help.
Instructive to this point, my son mentioned that he likes community-based video games. He was chatting with three guys from Brazil yesterday, and he truly found satisfaction in connecting with them. He and his friends love this, and it is where he finds his community. Knowing this, I think that relocation will not be disruptive to him, as long as we still have the ability to physically be present to debrief each day. That will be the ultimate challenge though if we are distant from our other children. As a wife and mother, I realize that that is what defines home to me. It is not so much the place, because even meeting at a coffee shop to chat about the day can work; it is seeing those I love and knowing that they are doing well that brings me satisfaction. Home is wherever those I love are, and I want to enjoy my “home” everyday.

Rain and the Rebel

Should have had pen in hand when my ideas started to flow, as I savored a robust morning cup of coffee, Ethiopian from Trader Joe’s. Thoughts of life’s constraints and irritations tumbled about my mind, and a bit of frustration too. I had hoped to kick myself out the door for a long skipped pre-breakfast, multi-mile walk in the fresh air; but it was raining, and I decided not to walk in the rain because it would ruin my mascara and drench the clothes I intended to wear to my dad’s physical therapy session. Today, we practice transferring in and out of the car, and I am the “lifter.” This assignment fortified my commitment to lifting weights at the gym, as I’d fallen off track when my schedule changed after my father’s fall in mid-May.

Seeing the rain, the varied shades of green under pale blue-gray skies, gave me the cloak of security and peace. My property is enveloped in trees, so much so that Google Earth only shows a canopy of them from above. The grounds are carpeted with grass, shrubs of  many varieties, and of course weeds. It is a haven for beautiful birds, colorful squirrels, and even a few ground hogs and raccoons. The inconvenience of rain actually provides the other living things in my yard their life. This balance I respect, for the world does not revolve around me. However, I can appreciate it through observation.

Another school year ends today; we hope to celebrate a couple graduations this weekend with Dad able to come out of the rehabilitation facility, and already we find ourselves planning for the fall term with three kids in college, two of them still living at home. Readying for the cycle of change to come, knowing a struggle to afford it awaits, I will relish my coffee, my ability to take care for my health, fitness, and family. The pleasure of choosing what time I will engage in work activities and graduation preparation bring me some sense of liberty and autonomy, because ultimately these all come under the domain of Choice.

We choose our perception, our attitude, our actions. It is the bane that we often succumb to habits and specifically habits of mind. Therein lies the constraints we perceive. Maybe when we sense this, it is useful to shake things up and rebel from monotony by doing things differently, freely, creatively. Life, even with constraints can offer us options. We should break free and use them.

I’ll start with breakfast!

Breakfast of eggs with portabello mushrooms and spinach; tomatoes sauteed with garlic and serrano pepper, hummus, olive oil & zataar, and tea.

Breakfast of eggs with portabello mushrooms and spinach; tomatoes sauteed with garlic and serrano pepper, hummus, olive oil & zataar, and tea.