Thursday, August 23, 2018

Home Sweet Home (Complete with a White Picket Fence!)

I absolutely loved this relatively recent Instagram post by Dwija (of House Unseen fame).  My favorite line was this: "home is not a place but a satisfaction of the heart."  

In the past year-and-a-half, I have grown to appreciate just how profoundly true that sentiment is. (I had also relatively recently posted some similar musings of my own on Instagram, saying that "home is not about walls and ceilings; it's about where your people are."  That's not a bad way to put it; but I think Dwija said it better.)

If you are a regular visitor here, you know that in the spring of 2017, my husband and I rather suddenly decided to leave our NH home, where we'd lived for 26 years and raised our five boys, to move down to VA, where three of them (married, with growing families) had settled.  We had to purge like nobody's business (in a mere two months’ time!) to prepare for downsizing to a smaller house, filling two huge dumpsters in the process.  We dropped off countless bags of clothes and miscellaneous household goods at Goodwill.  It was a brutal process, both physically and emotionally (which you might know if you read any of my posts between January and March of 2017).  It was made harder by the fact that I am the queen of nostalgia, and every single item I laid eyes on during the culling process seemed to have sentimental significance for me.
But we did it.  We moved from a roomy Colonial on more than an acre of land (set far back from the street on a quiet cul-de-sac, with lovely deer-filled woods in our own back yard), to a smaller cookie-cutter house in a cookie-cutter neighborhood (where the houses are situated very close together on postage stamp-sized plots of grass, and our driveway is just long enough to park our pair of small Nissan four-doors safely).  It has been a bit of an adjustment, to say the least.  Homebodies such as I, who like to feather their nests and rarely leave them, have a lot of trouble starting over.  I mean, it was easier when we were younger and hadn't had time to set down permanent roots anywhere.  We did a bit of moving in the early years, when my husband was a Naval aviator and then a new hire in the airlines.  But once we bought that "forever home" in NH, it became harder and harder each year to imagine we would ever live anywhere else.

But I'm here to tell you, that quote of Dwija's is right on the money.  Home is not a place--not even as lovely and cozy and comforting a place as that wonderful house was for our family for so many years.  Home is a satisfaction of the heart.  And what satisfies this heart of mine is being close to the people I love most in the world.  I could have dug my heels in and stayed in NH, all for the sake of a house; why, though, when all of our sons had grown up and gone, and it didn't look like anyone would be coming back to settle in the Northeast?  Why, though, when by some miracle three of our boys had made their homes in Northern VA, a stone's throw from one another, and it didn't look like any of them would be moving anytime soon?  The answer to the question "what/where is home?" became more and more obvious as time went by: VA was where we were meant to be.  (And now a fourth son has moved to the area, at least temporarily, by some serendipitous twist of fate! Forget subtle signs; God realizes that some folks need to be hit over the head, I guess!)

So we moved; we sold our home in NH, and we never looked back.  (Well, at the beginning I looked back a little; but not anymore!)

My husband and I have been away from our VA home for most of the summer, with the exception of a few weeks in July:  first when we traveled back to have a family week with our youngest son, who was home from Germany on leave (all five Pearl boys were together again--huzzah!);
and then when we rushed back to help out after the birth of our newest grandchild, our oldest son's first boy after four girls.
Other than those two trips South, we have been hanging out in our old hometown in Upstate NY, staying at my husband's childhood home on the lake while managing our Oyster Haven VRBO property just down the road.  It's been great having the opportunity to spend time with family members--including my mom--who are still in the area.  And not too long ago, we had a wonderful family vacation week at Oyster Haven with two of our sons and their families, which I will blog about soon.  (There might be a photo dump involved, too--just a warning!  And here's a mini-dump to tide you over...)

Oyster Haven was home for that week; it was a place where all of our hearts were extremely satisfied indeed.

But as summer draws to a close, I find I am getting homesick.  In less than a week, we will be heading back to VA, and I have to say, I'm beginning to feel very anxious to get home.  Yes, HOME.  Because that's where home is these days.  That's where my heart is most satisfied.

You might think you know just where you're going to end up; you might believe you have the most perfect plan mapped out for your future.  But be ready to go where life leads you.  Even five years ago, it would have surprised this born-and-bred Northeasterner to know that she could be so happy in a cookie-cutter house in a cookie-cutter Southern neighborhood.  But I am.

There it is, home sweet home.
It's even got a white picket fence out front, and a statue of Our Lady; truly, what more could you want?
There's my front door, welcoming me back from a walk through my sweet little neighborhood.
You know house, you're okay, you really are.  And I miss you!  See you soon.


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Madeline! I always love to see you've stopped by. :) <3

  2. What a great post! I'm so glad you are happy in your new home and I'm so glad you have been able to have such a wonderful summer away from your new home!

    1. Thanks, Beth. It was a great summer, but it's good to be back where we belong.

  3. ......A satisfaction of the heart. What a great description of every place you call home.