THE HOME I HOPE FOR MY CHILDREN

Author Brittany Chatburn / Published: Apr-20-2021

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My mother has a scent. It’s soft and sweet with notes of vanilla and rose. Peaceful and familiar — just like home.

I’m a grown woman now with two children of my own, but I still feel the call to home in the soft crook of her neck when she pulls me in. To comfort. To say goodbye. To welcome me back. Her scent is a wave and it carries me to a place where I’m known.

I never needed to be reminded of home so badly until I became a mother myself. We lose ourselves a bit in motherhood, don’t we? We give our bodies over to someone else and with it our time, our emotions, our mental capacity. Sacrificing bits of ourselves to care for this new wonder who, all at once, is our entire world. (And we say there’s nothing we would change about it. And it’s true.)

Nothing could prepare me to lose that little sense of self and I’ll be honest, I’m still learning who I am on this side of motherhood. I’m sitting with this new woman and observing her. I’m enjoying spending time with her and letting her bloom slowly, with purpose. Practically, it comes by way of a good night’s rest, going on a walk, journaling — and not scolding myself if I just can’t today. It all comes together brick by brick. In a way, I guess you could say I’m building a new home.

I always viewed my mom as a home already complete, but I know now that it must not have been that way. It could not have been that way. The proof is right there in my memory. My mother, closing her bedroom door to study having gone back to school in pursuit of a teaching career after spending over ten years at home with her three daughters. Sometimes a home needs additions, sometimes upkeep, sometimes renovations.

The home we build for ourselves requires a sturdy foundation and frame. Doors for coming and going. It needs windows, guests rooms, and a fully-stocked kitchen. A home requires tending to if it is to be a place of rest and welcome. But sterile perfection leaves no room for comfort. The home I find in my mother is lived in — full of stories and full of life.

Because what is a mother, if not a home?

I think about the home that I carry for my children. The home I hope to be for my children. As I lean into my new sense of self and purpose, I’m also creating a safe space for them to thrive and create. A place where they can return when their own sense of self feels a bit lost.And I wonder what scents they’ll catch later in life that will send them back to me. Maybe it’ll be pizza rising in the oven on a Friday night. Or sunscreen on a hot day. It could be peppermint soap, coffee breath, cocoa butter lotion — probably a combination of the three.

Mother’s Day is a welcome time to reflect on our own journeys through motherhood. This year, I’ll celebrate the memories we make and the homes we create. And all the women who have gone before us to remind us of who we are. Because what is a mother, if not a home?


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