I began 2012 living in an RV somewhere in Texas and ended it living in a rental in Pittsburgh. It seems like ages ago that we were wandering around the country, discovering a new adventure every day, but a quick look at the archives reminds me that it was just a few months ago that we gave up our nomadic life in exchange for the keys to a duplex in Squirrel Hill. It is both a little surprising and perfectly fitting, then, that I keep coming back to the ideas of home and resting and breathing for my immediate future.
Living without a permanent address had some interesting and paradoxical effects for me.
On the one hand, I came to see my family as my home. I drew closer to my husband and my two kids, and they to me. That gave me a new sense of freedom, because I know that I can be “at home” anywhere that they are. It also created a new dependency that I hadn’t experienced before; I find I’m much less comfortable when I’m without my people for too long.
On the other hand, the longer we roamed, the more I craved a community to call our own, a physical place with a zip code and mailbox and walls upon which to hang pictures. My family may provide a sense of belonging, but I wanted that family to be part of something larger than the four of us.
And, so, we chose a location we loved and told the United States Post Office that we were home. But, as it turns out, it has been a little harder than I thought it would be to be at home and make a home. We’ve unpacked, but we still live, in many ways, prepared to pack up and move again at a moment’s notice. This is eerily similar to how I felt as a kid, when my mother and I made many moves under the cover of darkness, setting up a series of new homes in between tearful reconciliations. Except my husband is not abusive and my kids have nothing to fear; there is no reason for them not to know the stability of home.
I’m not sure why I’m trying to justify my desire for home. I guess I feel like homemaking flies in the face of many of the values I’ve clung to in recent years. Homemaking requires accumulating some things, which makes me feel guilty and shallow. It also seems frivolous and superficial, and I never again want to be someone whose entire worth – financial or otherwise – is wrapped up in the trappings of a house.
But man, I really want to nest.
And I want to rest. And I want to breathe more slowly than I have for the past couple of years, and I want my kids to breathe more slowly, too. I want them to set down their packs long enough to stretch out their limbs and run free, knowing that everything will be right where they left it once they return. I want them to stop being afraid to settle in, because some of the very best parts of growing up come from believing you’re never going anywhere.
So, my word for 2013 is home.
To me, that means I’m setting my intentions on family and on a place. I’m resolving to rest more, to be more than I do. I’m giving myself permission to feather the nest, and reminding myself that being comfortable in the here and now is a worthy endeavor.
What is your word for 2013?