Leaving the light on for you

light on via kimberlyanncoyle.com

For most of the 3.5 years we lived in Switzerland, we did very little entertaining. Our home was small. I cooked in an oven the size of an easy bake. We had exactly six chairs to sit on and five people in our own family. My husband travelled constantly, and when he returned home after a long week away, we hunkered down. We baked and lit candles and made fires and watched tv. The kids and I decided, for better or worse, time with Daddy was too precious to share.

And while this is an unpopular opinion, especially in an online world that celebrates entertaining and hospitality, I don’t regret it. I don’t regret that our home became our safe place where we kept the candles flickering and the home fires burning and each of us had a place to sit. It was a season of gestating, of hidden growth in our protected, family space. We filled our weekdays with friends, activities, and the constant turnover of travel. By week’s end, we just wanted to be together, to be us, to unravel the chaos and negative influences of the week and knit something tighter and of heavier weight between us.

Now, we are Home with a capital H. We live in our old town, closer to family, and within shouting distance of friends we’ve known for over ten years. We have more chairs and more than enough room to pack the people in. Side note: I do not miss my easy bake oven. After the initial settling in period, we talked about how we want this next season to look for our family.

My husband travels less, and after our years abroad, we feel like our family grew in all the healthy ways we wanted. It’s time for our kids to grow some roots and flourish. Returning home also means exploring how we fit in here, and embracing a deeper sense of our place in this community. We want our neighbors, friends, and family to know they have a place with us, just as we have a place with them. This means, in spite of my previous allergy to entertaining anyone other than my very best friends, I’m learning how to open the front door.

In a move that surprised everyone, especially me, I discovered I like it. I like being a soft place for people to land. I like that inviting people into our home doesn’t mean there is less of my family for me, it means we offer ourselves and our home as a gift, and we do it together. I know I will never be the woman who loves the grocery store runs or planning all the cooking. I’m the antithesis of Martha (Stewart, not Martha of biblical fame. I’ve been known to go a bit bananas when I’m in the same room with a Mary). But, I have other things to offer. I have a dog who will sit on your lap and let you love him. I have a husband who will spare you the awfulness that is my cooking. I have kids who will welcome you in, look you in the eye, and ask about your day. As for me, I’ll light the candles and pull out an extra chair. Come on over, I’ve left the light on for you.


Every Monday, I plan to write a little bit about “home”, exploring the idea behind what it means to belong. Does this resonate with you at all? Would you like to follow along? Fill in your details below for posts delivered straight to your inbox.

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  • Sheila Dailie

    Wish I could come sit by your flickering candle and share a cup of tea! I’ll look forward to Mondays!

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