A home is a place you feel welcome. Safe. Loved. But homes aren’t instant entities. Homes are made.
I am in a homemaking season. I have no idea what I’m doing. How does an unpracticed twenty-two year-old like me create a home from scratch?
It’s funny how, until a certain point in your life, we don’t worry about homemaking. Until we leave home for college, this is the job of our parents. They perform a sort of grown-up magic that makes The Eagles playing on the stereo, tulips in a vase on the dining room table, and papasan chairs feel like home.
Then we go to college and without knowing it, we start homemaking. It begins with Oh my gosh, your dorm room is so homey! We have a little say in making our space ours. Fuzzy rugs, matching bedspreads. Brownie mixes.
no candles allowed… no microwaves allowed… no boys after visiting
hours, keep your door open if you want people to like you, participate in dorm events, clean your hair out of the communal shower drains, trade your student ID to check out a muffin pan, and if you need anything, your RA is there for you!
We play house in a four-by-eight dorm room with two other girls, no air conditioning, and 3,000 photographs of our real homes. And we love it.
We go off campus to short-lived three-month stints of travel. Home is a second-story four-bedroom mouse trap in the heart of the city, where mold is growing in the shower and the subway rattles your bed while you sleep. But the city is alive, and so are you.
And at the end of each day, your housemates bring their adventures inside, and you find meaning
in them while you check the mousetraps.
You can basically do anything you want… just as long as you pay your rent. You’re only there for a little while.
Back on campus, we move into condos – where we might make soup in our crockpots once in a while and have friends over to do their laundry and watch When Harry Met Sally. We have real landlords. We can light candles.
We say we’re “going home” at the end of the day. And in a very real sense, we are. Home is wherever we are, whatever we are filling with our things, our food, our patterns, our habits, and our love.
Married homemaking is something new
Unlike dorm living, married homemaking does not include you and 200 of your closest friends.
Unlike childhood, married homemaking does not include your mother’s decorating skills and your dad’s handyman skills.
There is no RA. There is no manual. There are just lovely bridal showers, a flood of wedding gifts, enough to fill a castle. And here’s your keys! Go!
Thankfully, by this point, we have a rough idea of what elements we love about home… right?
It’s the fresh-baked cookies…
Or maybe it’s a regular regimen of dusting and vacuuming.
Hosting dinner parties?
Frenzied homemaking, Alex and Brooke style
After we arrived home from Cancun, Alex and I entered a frenzied phase of homemaking. Except, we weren’t home much. It seemed every night we had a new errand to run. We needed so many things to stock the nest. Bedside lamps. Command hooks. Cereal.
In those first few weeks, we barged into departments stores wielding stacks of gift cards. We terrorized IKEA. We bought rugs, mixing bowls, outlet dividers. It’s coming together. It’s looking good! we told each other.
Now we’re just about out of things to do and gift cards to spend. Here we are. It is the first home that has ever belonged to us. And unlike all of our homes before, we have the most freedom we’ve ever had.
So where do we go from here? Furnished apartment, two married folks, and the silence of a grown-up apartment building?
We’re experimenting with the recipe for a happy home.
Pizookie on Sunday nights. Folding laundry together. Finding ways to serve our neighbors. Finding ways to not yell, to be kind, to be patient. Finding ways to share the covers.
What’s happy? Dinner Club! Friends and their babies!
We’re frying eggs. We’re making mistakes. We’re laughing and listening.
Home is being here. I think we have a lot to learn. But I think we know a lot already, too.
And I guess we’ll figure out the rest as we go.