As we were gathering back packs and lunch boxes to head out the door for school one day I noticed that my son was standing in the kitchen taking a couple of very deep breaths. They were the kind of deep inhales you take when you take cookies out of the oven and can’t get enough of the fresh baked cookie smell. Curious, I asked him what he was doing. “I like to remember the smell of our house when I am at school”, was the reply I got back. I decided to take a few deep breaths too. We can all use a reminder of home when the world seems overwhelming.
It is true that people can be great beckons of blessing in our lives. Perhaps this is also true of places. When we are in a certain place where great love or kindness occurs, love imprints itself on the texture of the place. When we pass there, hungry and needy in spirit, that loving imprint shines on us and beckons us in. One always knows where to go when our hearts are broken. It is the place that acts like a salve to draw the poison out of our heart’s wounds. Just being there slows our pace, our breath deepens and we are safe. We no longer have to do anything or be anyone. We are free to be fully ourselves, which is good no matter what. We are home.
Home is an interesting word. It means so much more than a location. It is a place of belonging and safety. No matter what the material shape, size or backdrop of the place we call home it is safe because of the healing things that happen inside it; kind words, warm meals, inside jokes, hugs, snuggles, our hearts are known and forgiveness is freely given. I realized this more fully that day that my son was ‘smelling’ our kitchen.
As mothers we take on the role of ‘care takers of the home’. We nurture life in our wombs (a human life’s first home). We do our best to take on the task of creating a warm and safe home for our child to learn and grow in. And then we maintain and nurture the home that our children and grandchildren come back to. I know there are days when I like to go home to my own Mom’s house, snuggle in her cozy bed pull up the covers and share everything that is weighing heavy on my heart. I know that I will always find an open ear and a cup of tea with cookies waiting for me.
As a Mom, I often think about how I can shape what home means for my own kids and husband. I wonder what will my kids remember about growing up and sharing a home together? I hope it is the feeling of coming in the door kicking off their shoes and sitting on the couch to talk about their day. Or the late at night giggles as they are falling asleep, or how whatever they faced during the day could be dealt with in the loving safety of a family who cared deeply about them.
Ultimately, home will look different and feel different to each of us. But the best gift we can give to our kids is one heck of a smelly home.