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December 21, 2010 / paperkids

Our house

Since Jared and I got married, we have lived in a string of rental houses, moving back and forth from California to Florida and back again.   I  watch all those HGTV shows where people are just out of college and moving into their dream house to start a family.  Nothing has seemed like the norm with us.  How many more rental houses will we live in before we “settle down” already?

Our current  house is in a crowded suburb in southern California.  The kids have been able to get free behavior therapy and respite care, which is great because very few states provide such services for autism.  We’re in a great school district in what I like to call “80’s track”, in a 3 bedroom complete with popcorn ceilings and outdated fixtures.  It’s definitely not the home of our dreams.  And we’re here quite a bit, since it isn’t always easy to go places with the kids.  Sometimes everything feels like it’s falling apart around here!   I look down into the  shower, which seems to be crumbling.  Our maintenance guy has tried to fix problems by adding a flimsy strip of tape here and there – some kind of imitation molding.  It’s not fooling anyone if it doesn’t fool me.  I’m easily pleased by all things “thrown together”.  With a huff and sigh, it’s been like this over the past four years.  Just when I’m feeling okay about this place with all its makeshift-edness, someone will visit who makes a comment about how our landlord should take better care of it  … or how there’s another house for rent down the street that we “should look into”.   And  I’m always reminded when I visit a friend, that this house is needing some serious work.  When you rent, there’s only so much you’d want to invest in. The disgusting carpets are the least of concerns really.  There are the messes that you don’t see – the piles of stress collecting over time, building up and towering over.  The air gets heavy with the weight of frustrations and decisions to be made – one hard decision after another.   I think of my parents who live on the other side of the country and how much I still need them, maybe now more than ever.

I ask myself, “What must this house say about me as it crumbles down around us?!”

I often think about the simple house I grew up in.  From time to time I long to sit on my parents screened in front porch, sipping sweet tea and waiting for the big drops of rain to rattle the tin roof.  Yes, the simple life comes calling!  I can almost smell the wet grass and see the colors of the sky.  Sometimes I long for a country home on a patch of land.  I dream of having a garden like I did when I was little that we can harvest and pack away all the vegetables in the deep freezer.  This house in my mind has a big front porch with a swing where I can sit and think about simple things like what I’m going to make for dinner or what kind of flowers I’ll plant in one of many flower beds……  and my parents, family and friends are all close by and my kids love to play outside and explore in the woods.  On weekends we go to baseball games and play board games on rainy days.  ……..

Sometimes I think about this idyllic life and it’s hard for me to tell if it’s the one that I want or the one I’ve already had.  It seems my mind  lingers so much in both the past and the future.   But what about this moment?!  I look at Jared and the kids and this feeling begins to subside.  I know that like so many places we’ve lived in, I will look back fondly on this moment in this house and remember only them.  The memory of those moments will fan across my mind like a soft breeze.

Maybe it’s not about where you live or about the house you live in – about those places made of concrete and wood that we move to and from.  Maybe home is about those places that we take with us  – people and moments made of flesh and blood and spirit that we carry with us wherever we go and that live on in our hearts for eternity.  Perhaps it’s the Love that binds itself to us from which we can never be separated.


But you, children of space, you restless in rest, you shall not be trapped nor tamed.
Your house shall be not an anchor but a mast.
It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.
You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.
You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living.
And though of magnificence and splendour, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing.
For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.
–  The Prophet (Kahlil Gibran)

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4 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. MSOTS / Jan 3 2011 10:47 am

    The snail is a perfect picture/metaphor of the ‘home’ we carrry with us.

  2. Aunt Molly / Jan 4 2011 7:13 pm

    Take the girl out of the country, but you just cant get the country out of the girl. That’s a very good thing! Your words are wonder-ful Sabra..

  3. Candy / Jan 5 2011 10:58 pm

    Home is where love dwells, my friend. The selfish part of me is happy you haven’t moved away.

  4. grandma / Jan 10 2011 1:20 am

    Your home is your sanctuary, wherever you are. One day at a time it will fall into place. Love to you..

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