Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Good Home

Back from the ninth level of hell, and looking at everything with Anne-like eyes again. Are you surprised? 

Mr. Oram and I had the chance to move to another dream house (same neighborhood as the last one). 3500 square feet, five bedrooms plus an office, a pool...and maybe even affordable if we scrimped and worked and held our breath. My husband, ever my champion, insisted "if this is what you want, I'll get it for you" (never underestimate the power of a woman). And I looked and I thought and I imagined...all that room, the formal living and dining, the pool, the huge bathrooms...the parties we could have, the guests we could host, Zuzu's swimming lessons in the pool (safely protected by a gate, of course)...

And I said no

Because I also looked around my little 1400 sf home, with its funky vinyl siding and its porches that are falling apart - not to mention the yard that has lately enjoyed sprouting stinkhorns (a most unholy and lurid fungi) - and thought, I'm not done yet. I'm not done transforming this little ramshackle bungalow into a home. I'm not ready to leave! I have tree swings to hang, landscaping to do, a mailbox to replace, doors to paint, bathrooms to redo...I can't trade it in yet. I'm not - and we're not, as a family - ready.

I probably get my perfectionist home-improvement streak from my daddy - shown here at a football game. Roll tide!

The home is of vital importance - and what makes it important is what we make of it. And I realized that to buy a big house just to have the room to fill with things...that was not the kind of homemaker I want to be. I am the queen of my little home; I say what we need. And I realized that what my family needs right now isn't more things or more space - it needs to get used to being centered on prayer; we need to get used to focusing on the needs of our little threesome; I need to have more time to settle into being the heart of the family.  None of that requires a bigger house.

I read the most inspiring thing on LMLD the other writing about why making a home is more important than being famous, Auntie Leila said

"This is the key to understanding how it is that a woman's call to love the little place of her home is such a great and even momentous action in the world -- if you have ears to hear it. If you can love the hidden and resist the lure of the oversized and loud and lucrative claim to fame, you will have the privilege to know how it can be that one woman, one family, one home -- yours -- can change and build and restore."

Last week was hard. Being sick with a baby was really upsetting - while worrying about work at the same time. I was so tired (and when you're tired, you never think straight) and so frustrated. But now I'm in better health, praise God, and happily surveying my little domain. 

It's a very sunny little domain - Easter 2013

I know there are women out there who are not happy with their roles. They have a heavy cross, because homemaking is hard and it feels unnatural to them. There are women who are uncomfortable with traditional femininity and so they have to forge a new path to find out how to be the best version of themselves. I am lucky. I truly love - love - being a wife and mother. I asked my dear friend Shaelena, who was here this week from London, "do you think it's weird that I like being a housewife?" Drolly she answered "No. Do you think it's weird? I was under the impression that this was the plan." 

I had to explain - it as the plan because I feel it is right. Ever the rationalist, I took my own experience plus lots of studies and thought: homes function best when they have a full time manager. Babies need moms to be around when they're little. Thus, for continuity and best career success, I should stay at home and he should go to work. That's how that decision was made for me. But it didn't mean that I would like it. I didn't know what I would think! For years and years, all I thought of was myself - God, of course, but God's plan for me, me, me. 

God's plan for me was to get married and have Zuzu. And I'm happy doing it. I cannot express how wonderful it is to be happy doing what I am called to do. I know it's not as interesting as talking about how unhappy I am or how somebody pooped on the floor or shoved Desitin into their bellybutton - but this is my reality right now. There will be years to come of feeling overwhelmed and frustrated...I'll enjoy the honeymoon while it lasts. 

Gratuitous pic of my two nephews, Jake and Jack, taken right after a Bama victory...almost three years ago!! How time flies! 

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