Article by Wendy McCance
Anyone who has read my Searching for the Happiness blog for some time knows a little about my background. The abbreviated version is that in 2009 my husband and I lost our jobs, lost our home, and have spent years rebuilding our lives with three kids in tow.
After several years of working to get back on our feet, we have found ourselves in a better place. We can breath again. We have weeks where there is extra money. It has been awhile since we have worried about where we would find the extra money to get our kids new clothes. It’s been even longer since we worried about driving our cars because we barely had enough money to pay for gas.
Through all of our struggles, there was something I realized that we completely neglected. We never took the time or care to make our new house a home.
When we lost our home, it was 2011. Our family was crushed. This was our dream home. We had big plans for that house and we were certain we would live there forever, or close to it.
Because of a unique situation, we were lucky enough to move into a new house when we lost the dream house. The new home was smaller, the neighborhood not as picturesque, and we didn’t see this new home as anything more than a transitional space. Nevertheless, we were extremely fortunate and were relieved to have a decent roof over our head.
For two years we have lived in this new home. The house is kept up neatly and we did paint each of the kids rooms. Honestly, it was only the kids rooms that we completely made into cozy retreats.
As for the rest of the house, we have what we need, but there is no personality to any of the rooms. There are few signs of personality in any of the rooms. Without realizing it, we were so certain that this would be a temporary situation that we never made an effort to make our house into a home.
With extra money coming in, my husband and I began discussing what the house needed. A coat of paint here and there, new curtains that actually fit the window and we needed to get rid of some peeling wallpaper.
Our discussion regarding the house revolved around getting the house in order for the day that we would move into a better home in a better neighborhood. That’s when it dawned on me. I was spending so much time planning out the future that I wasn’t embracing what was around us every day.
I realized that I needed to slow down and make the most of what I currently had in front of me. I wanted the kids to have a house that really felt like their home. I wanted to add those homey touches that make you want to curl up in front of the fireplace with a good book and feel content with your surroundings.
It occurred to me that I didn’t need to spend a fortune to spruce up the house and it wouldn’t be a waste of money to put some finishing touches in some of the rooms. I wanted the kids to feel at home and what I was giving them was making the kids feel like they were in limbo instead.
Back when we lived in the dream home, we worked at making each room special. We celebrated our home by entertaining often, decorated for each season and we did a lot of cooking in our kitchen. In the new home, we don’t decorate much, we don’t do any elaborate cooking and we have felt uncomfortable doing much entertaining in the house.
My husband and I allowed our feelings of disappointment to in a sense, put our lives on hold. Why it took me so very long to see what we were doing, I don’t know. After two years in this new home, I am ready to embrace what we do have and celebrate the fact that we have been fortunate. We were never out on the street. The kids were able to have their own private bedrooms. We have nice neighbors and the area we live in has top rated schools and is safe.
It’s time to let go of those low moments in our lives and start living again. The kids have gone through so much stress with us and they need that feeling of security that a house can bring when it is turned into a home. With the weather cooling down and several holidays approaching, I will be decorating the house and baking up a storm. It’s time to make new memories and enjoy our family and friends like we used to.