The Case for Being Home

Home is a quiet place. Such a contrast to the world around us. People running and doing, all making a ruckus while they’re at it. Distractions and stimuli; exhausting attempts to accomplish. A culturally acceptable way to avoid the gentle hum of life at home.

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The pace of the world is fast for small feet, and oftentimes my own as well. The expectations are so high, social pressures in full force. Drive here, drop them off, run over there, pick this up, fit this in, snarf this down, pick them up, act this way, smile that way, scramble home, shovel in the food–bath, book, bed. And all again the next day. A cyclone. Out there running, meals do not get made, clothes do not get clean, and order unravels.

Handled too hastily, things fall apart. And yet we rush, achieve, interact. The pursuit of productivity. Avoidance of the quiet.

Because quiet can be hard. Life in the home is still and simple. Time home means time together, engaging during every waking hour. Not easy for an introverted mama. There are days the walls close in and the routine drives me mad. So we stretch our legs; we take a walk, visit friends, find good work to busy ourselves. Some days require more going, and after those we’re ready to return to our oasis to process the life we’ve witnessed.

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Back at home things are quiet. A cozy, familiar shelter from the pounding pulse outside the front door. The warmth invites us in, all comfy and safe. A private escape from the onlookers, expectations, and the hurry. The demands out there are so stiff and rigid, an ear-piercing clamor of unspoken rules and proudly paraded badges of busyness. Everyone so heavily starched to keep themselves from falling over in a heap of exhaustion.

But home is where life really gets broken-in. It’s where the constraints of growing ease up, and the pace slows from a wind sprint to a smooth glide. Breath settles into a rhythm. It’s where the real work gets done. At home there’s that steady cadence of learning and working, with space to play, create, and explore. Home is a collection of lovely things; comfy made-up beds, a stack of new library books on the coffee table, freshness in the fruit bowl, sunlight filling the play area, vibrance, music, laughter, togetherness–harmony. Home is not just a place but an environment. A world all it’s own that holds so much power. But it requires maintenance keeping, protection–or it will be no different than that noisy, outside world.

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It’s because of this that I fight for our home time. I defend it. Being home lets me listen. Chaos drowns out the cries for help and distracts me from the small–but important–things that need attention. The longing of their minds for down time to just be, without the exhausting assumptions and behavioral expectations. In the quiet of our home, I can hear their hearts . . . and answer them.

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