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Recently published written work:

What Really Happened in Charlottesville

Why I Didn’t Call the Cops…

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We Are Home

It has been a long day of playing with, teaching, learning with, and making meals for my children. I am tired. It is late. The tasks of hands-on parenting is finally over for the day. We have read many books, cried a few tears, created a family band, and lost patience here and there. The day has been full, but ordinary.

In the quiet, I can etch my sons’ sleeping faces into my brain’s forever memory, I can hear their small breaths and remember to appreciate each quiet sigh.

My energy and their slumber collide and I pounce on the opportunity to straighten up around our small apartment. What is normally tedious with a hint of frustrating has morphed into a point of contentment and gratitude.

About 5 months ago, my family and I moved to a new-to-us, smaller city. Weighed down by a series of burdens, my husband and I decided that a fresh town would double as a chance at a fresh perspective. We made a quick, drastic change not knowing where it would lead.

There is a sort of intangible feeling that comes along with moving, it’s the loss of home.

You move your boxes in and (in our case a minimal amount of) furniture, you bring your kids, if you like them. You stand in this new place and find yourself looking around waiting to understand the ways in which your world will change.

It’s impossible to really grasp what lies ahead. Walking streets you don’t know, where every face is unfamiliar.

In a few months, I have learned things I never knew about the innate culture of a city, the complexities of social divides, and the impactful beauty of the new scenery. We have made a few friends, people that I feel fortunate to know. We’ve experienced a small part of this vast world that would otherwise by a mystery to us.

Despite all of the lessons we are learning and connections we are making, the space that we live in has not felt like home.

Until tonight.

As I put away the mess from the day, a discarded sock here, a sketchpad there, then it sinks in.

This is home.

This place where our children bounce and play, where they cry and laugh. Where they sit happily at our well-loved kitchen table, expressing their creativity with crayons and markers. This small apartment where our feet land at the end of long excursions, comforted and warm in a space of our own.

A forgotten drawing reminds me of my preschooler’s dedication to artistic detail, how proud he is of his work. How confident he is in the safety of home.

A stack of partially munched crackers on a plate conjures images of my bright toddler and his long-lasting attempts at mastering the 6 cracker sandwich.

Shoes that have migrated from the basket that houses them, lined up in a row, next to chairs set-up as train seats, remind me that I am standing in the place where my sons’ imaginations are cultivated.

From room to room I go and as I return each item to the bin or basket that is it’s home, it becomes clearer that we’ve also found a home for ourselves.

And it’s not these four walls. Our home is not this tiny apartment or waxed into these beautiful but sound-enhancing hardwood floors and it is not reflected in the panes of these drafty, old windows.

Our home lives in the boys who own the slippered feet that race on this floor, brothers chasing and giggling with mischief. Our home stands strong in the soles of the tired parents walk behind these boys, our souls carrying weight, heavy and wide.

The four of us, together, building foundations, creating memories and taking charge of our happiness—We are home.

 

Comments? Email me at bellamyshoffner@gmail.com. ❤