Growing up I never really had a “home.” Yes, I consistently had somewhere to lay my head at night, and I had a roof to cover me while I slept. Yet within those four walls, I never found the stereotypical comfort of “home.” In my childhood, the house was lacking a family. It was lacking the warmth of what my mind believed a home to be. People inhabited the space, but the safety and comfort of a home was nowhere to be found. It was a frame, but the house was just as hollow as the people living inside of it.
In total, I have moved six times. Three of which were to a “home” outside of my family unit. In order for me to feel “at home,” I need space – space to be me, to feel like me, and to express who I am. I need knick-knacks, dark walls, and surprises on every shelf. I need random patches of bright colors, and oddities that most would not find a use for. I need my personality to be shown, and shown loudly. More importantly, I need somewhere cozy to lay my head down at night – but most importantly, I need somewhere where other’s feel cozy too.
Nicely put, there was a lot of “loud talking” in my home. There was always a lot of chaos, misunderstandings, and unfortunate drama. Oddly, I found my oasis in my closet. On my third move, I was unfortunate enough to have my own room. My own room, in the upstairs corner of an old farm house. This room came with a spacious closet. During this time, I had the best best-friend that a girl could ever ask for. Every day after school, when life at home became too overwhelming, I would call him, and sneak into my closet for a few moments of peace and understanding. Though his closet was hardly big enough, in an effort of solidarity, he would sit in his closet as well. Now in my first real home, I have created a closet oasis in which I am nostalgic, and of my childhood, and inspired for my future. I fondly call it my “cloffice” (closet / office), and often find myself so at home in it that I spend more time admiring than I do getting work done in it.
Throughout my home, and even in sweet G’s room, hats play a major role. The man behind the story behind the hats plays an even bigger role. My Great Uncle, who’s real name was Marion, fondly allowed me to call him “Uncle No-Socks,” after he slipped on shoes without socks when I was a child, and I found nothing funnier. I was a very small child at the time, and I looked at him as if he hung the moon, so this silly moment to me was an important moment in history, one that he played up every time he saw me. I spent a great deal of time with my Uncle No-Socks, and quickly fell in love with his large hat collection, which he let me play with often. He often traveled with world and collected hats and pins from all over, when he passed away almost ten years ago, that collection became mine. I believe he started my love of my hats, and if not, I think he would at least be proud of the collection I have accrued of my own. When he passed, I was left several items that were his, and being the nostalgic and sentimental person I am, I place them lovingly throughout my home, in an effort to feel at peace.
We purchased our home in late January of 2018, about five months before our son would be born. My husband’s Grandfather built the home, so the house was already made with love. We have a lot more space and land than we know what to do with, but I’m sure sweet G will find just the right use for it as he gets older. Yes, the house is beautiful and the furniture is nice, but for me, it is the little details and the little bits of personality that make it home.
Our favorite room in the house is our “den,” that was previously used an informal living room. The room is now painted a dark charcoal, with floor to ceiling built in shelves, exposed brick, and so much character I could examine it all day. We have fully changed the room from what it was before and it is now our oasis to entertain and display all of the quirks that I have collected over the years. We eat large dinners in this room, we play games, we watch movies, and we do homework here. It is quiet, and it is ours.
I have never quite been interested in most things that would be considered “my age.” In accordance with this, other than hats, my favorite collection has been salt and pepper shakers. Though salt and pepper shakers are practical, I prefer to look at them from an artistic and celebratory outlook. Give me a knick-knack, and I will make a space on my shelf for it.
I remember a big portion of my excitement during my pregnancy was designing the boy’s room. I wanted him to have a space that was sentimental (because as I mentioned before, I’m a nostalgic, sentimental mess), but also somewhere where he could look at the walls and be inspired.
In a way, I felt like I made an unspoken promise to my Grandmother to keep the tradition of our family heritage alive. I want G to know where he comes from, and not just to know, but to also celebrate it; to live it, and to be in a place that reminds him of where the feet of his ancestors have touched, how, and why.
There is a heavy alligator theme in his room, which is selfish of me, due to alligators being my favorite animal. However, two select pieces in his room are so special to me that I often don’t tell people where they came from. For his alligator bank, I actually purchased it when I was pregnant before. For someone who pregnancy didn’t come easy, my miscarriage broke me. It is still the number one subject that can break me. In the moment of carrying one of G’s siblings, however, I was in top of the world. Boy or girl, the alligator bank was going to be theirs. As life would have it though, it ended up being sweet G’s instead.
Several months after the miscarriage, I was in San Francisco with my best friend. As we shopped in a high end toy store, I came across this plush alligator, and in a moment of extreme hopefulness, I purchased it with the thought that maybe one day, I would be a mom again, and this one could stay. Now each time my eyes fall upon these items, I am reminded of the heartbreak and the beauty of life.
I have had the unique chance to experience a lot of loss, which is why I think I love home so much; because it is a compilation of all of my gains.
This is where we live. This is where we cry. This is where we love. This is home.