I have lived in my little home for just over 14 years. I never intended this to be my forever home, this sweet little cottage; it was the bridge between a flat and a house. It was a doer-upper when I purchased it with my ex on the Valentine’s Day of the year we got married. It was our first place without lodgers… a space to make our own. We could see the potential. We worked hard; poured love and money into the project; re-wired, re-plastered, re-painted, re-everything-ed it . But I rarely settled here… I was always off and out, here and there… doing, seeing, visiting, somebody or something. This was a bigger-picture thing, I am sure. My restlessness was not to do with the home itself, but something inside me. When we had our first son, spare room became nursery and on the birth of our second son, a cot was added and, as they grew, bunk beds. But I was always out… rarely here, relaxing and entertaining. I cannot recall a single weekend when I stayed home willingly. It has been just my boys and I living here for the past 3 years. Last Winter I redecorated the dining room. It is where we eat and also where I work… at my little corner office. The year before, the boys’ bedroom and our living room were given an overhaul with the help of my boyfriend. We moved everything out of each room in turn, bringing back in only what was wanted. We demolished a shed, constructed a pergola and converted an old door and a sewing machine base into a table. We created a little seated area for outdoor entertaining. This doubles as my Summer art studio also.
In the past years or so, something has shifted. I finally feel at home here. I invite people in. I cook here for friends – I entertain, but the biggest shift of all is that I am happy staying in. This weekend, I have not ventured further than my front door… and no, I’m not ill. If you know me, you know that this would have been unheard of a year ago!
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So today, I am grateful that I finally feel at home here, in my home. I am grateful for a quiet contented feeling. I am grateful for a connectedness to my living environment and a release from my restlessness. I may not always live here, but I feel that now I can be here with myself, I could be happy anywhere. And in reconnecting with my home, I know that it was not my home I was disconnected from, but myself.
Today, I am grateful for the joy a smile can bring. It costs nothing, but says everything.
I am not talking about the toothy grin prompted by “say cheese” in the high pitched cry of a camera wielding parent intent on capturing a certain something. I am referring to that wonder-full moment when eyes are alight and a feeling in the heart is revealed. It’s contagious that thing. Pure. Spontaneous. Magic. I am grateful for witnessing the spread of a smile today… the joy passed from friend to friend, as the party began and from small boy to big brother, to (me) mother, grandmother, and on…
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I am grateful for the joy of friendship. I am grateful for my own precious friends and that my small son, 5 today, already has some truly kind, loyal and loving friends. I am grateful that in watching them today, jumping and giggling, I was reminded of my own happy childhood parties and my old school friends. I am grateful for family and for the fact that whilst ours is no longer intact, we remain close and are able to share these special occasions, extended family included. I am grateful for the sound of children’s laughter… it rang out today and is music to my ears. Grateful for the sound of silence now that our day is over; the presents opened; the cake eaten. I am grateful for peace at last and for the feeling of joy in my heart that each of today’s memories, lived and re-lived brings. I am grateful that tonight, I feel abundantly blessed. My heart is smiling.