December 6, 2010 at 6:00 am
I noticed something last week … that our little family was having some slow days at home following the busyness of holiday guests and Thanksgiving.
We hadn’t gone into this patch of decreased activity with a plan, as much as we were just listening to our family’s need for quiet, calm, and the familiarity of routine … simple meals, puzzles, library books, rooms looking the way we remembered them before …
We had things we needed to do, needed to catch up on, but even those tasks — laundry, bills, dishes and more laundry were done slowly and with plenty of time left over for naps and knitting and drawing.
Kim John Payne says in his book Simplicity Parenting that after a vacation or other busy time, that an equal number of days spent close to home, with a slower pace can be beneficial in “resetting” things.
I have found that to be true for our small family. I often worry about going on a trip because I know the day after will be filled with grocery shopping and picking up our dog from the kennel; unpacking dirty clothes and searching for toothbrushes.
How different would our vacation be, I often wonder, if an equal number of days was built in for being at home and getting reacquainted with the familiar before life demanded errands and meeting deadlines.
I look back now on the past week seeing that it was a much-needed deep breath for all of us.
As we put away the fancy china, stripped and remade all the beds, made soup, made lists, made time for card games and reading together and eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate, we all felt settled once more.
I am reminded in all of this that home is so much more than a place, so much more than a building. Home is the people, and the routines, the smells, the comforts. We all need those things, I think, although what brings the comfort may be a little different for each of us.
I crave soup cooking in a big pot, bread rising on the stove, warm blankets and clean socks for all, candles filling the room with the flickering scent of balsam fir, and the tea pot shouting for attention from the kitchen.
Last week I learned that my family craves all that too. And that when we have it, all again feels right with the world.