With this polar vortex I call the North East, I’m discovering once again why we never see real live people outside of vehicles or over-heated buildings in the winter. I’m not sure I remember what my neighbors look like, as we’re all huddled inside our homes trying to stay warm. As I sat on the sofa today, I could hear sheets of ice slipping off the roof and cracking on the back deck. The house is sighing and shifting her weight under the lukewarm sun. She’s settling in.
I feel like we’re settling in too. I rearranged the family room furniture to fit just so. I dug out the photos of my husband’s grandmother, walking towards the camera, hand in hand with her young husband on an urban Philadelphia street. I light the candles at night and I let them burn, burn, burn their way into my memory. This is what home smells like. These are the people who smile on me here. This is my table, my comfy throw, my stack of magazines. This is where you sit, and I sit there. The cushions conform to our shape. This is the shape of us.
Man, I love the rhythms of our life. I love the washing machine humming down the hall, and the way my girl squirms when I wake her with a “Guten Morgen, Liebling.” She hates that, but I know she’ll remember it fondly, someday. I love the glow of her bedroom lamp slipping through the cracks in her door, the boy snuggled in bed with the man watching whatever it is boys watch together. I almost love the Lego set strewn across my dining room table. Almost. I love neat and tidy more. I love the kettle and the way I sometimes smile over a particularly well-brewed cup. No one sees my smile but the few pictures hanging on the wall, and they smile right back at me.
I love the way she makes the piano sing, the way it doesn’t know what to do when I finger its keys. I could write a love song to my slow cooker, she of great patience and long-suffering, who has saved more cuts of meat than I can say. Things I also love: The pup waiting patiently at the back door, morning, noon and night. The thump and groan of the heater as it wakes up the house at 5am. The light shifting from one side of the house to the other over the course of the day. The way we’re shaping this house and it’s shaping us.
It’s a love story, and we’re writing it.