Stories for Mothers

What Makes a Home?

Baby with pen and ink house drawing

It is always very vulnerable to talk about the things in your life you aren't satisfied with, but that is the point of Ampersand Mother. It's to be honest about where you are in life, accepting it, being aware when it is unhealthy, and making the changes needed for growth.

When Evan and I made the very hard decision to be done having kids, I really struggled with it. I had passed the milestones of engagement, marriage, getting pregnant (twice), buying a house, birthing children, so what was left? We bought a fixer upper house 2 years ago with the intention to make it great, but life happened, jobs changed, and our finances looked different. So, we put all those goals aside and focused on not going into debt while raising our toddler and newborn. Fast forward two years and we have barely touched the house. It is the same bright green color it was when we walked around it with our realtor. I remember saying, "If we buy this house, this horrible color has got to go immediately". And here we are, 2 years later, with the same green house.

All grown up after his first haircut and the GREEN HOUSE in the background!

All grown up after his first haircut and the GREEN HOUSE in the background!

I can blame it on a lot of things, social media or my friends with incredible houses, but I became obsessed with the house and critical of every detail. I was embarrassed that it wasn't nicer, and didn't want people to come over because I felt that it wasn't a representation of my taste level. Any time someone came over I had to justify the imperfections and say things like, "We plan on fixing this or changing that, etc.". It also didn't help that my kids are 1 and 3 and totally curious and destroyed pretty much everything in sight! One day, we can own nice things. I spent months planning out all we could do with the house. Evan would get home from work and I would meet him at the door saying, "What if we took out this wall, expanded here, raised the ceiling, added on, etc."

One day I was listening to Sleeping at Last (if you haven't heard of this band, go check them out. It has been the soundtrack to this season of my life and you will hear more about them in blogs to come!) and a song came on that had the lyrics:

 "We built a home, it was far from perfect but we made it our own."

It started me on a journey of figuring out, what makes a home?

As I began journaling all the things that I felt make up a home, another Sleeping at Last song turned on and it became the backdrop to my painting. I have attached the lyrics and a link to the song below so as you read more about my painting, feel free to listen to the song that I had on repeat while I planned and painted it!

North - by Sleeping at Last

We will call this place our home
The dirt in which our roots may grow

Though the storms will push and pull
We will call this place our home

We'll tell our stories on these walls
Every year measure how tall
And just like a work of art
We'll tell our stories on these walls

Let the years we're here be kind, be kind
Let our hearts, like doors, open wide - open wide
Settle our bones, like wood, over time - over time
Give us bread, give us salt, give us wine

A little broken a little new
We are the impact and the glue
Capable more than we know
We call this fixer-upper home

With each year our color fades
Slowly our paint chips away
But we will find the strength and the nerve it takes
To repaint and repaint and repaint everyday

Let the years we're here be kind, be kind
Let our hearts, like doors, open wide - open wide
Settle our bones, like wood, over time - over time
Give us bread, give us salt, give us wine

Let the years we're here be kind, be kind
Let our hearts, like doors, open wide - open wide
Settle our bones, like wood, over time - over time
Give us bread, give us salt, give us wine
Give us bread, give us salt, give us wine

Smaller than dust on this map
Lies the greatest thing we have
The dirt in which our roots may grow
And the right to call it home

Print of "Making a Home" by Lauren Reese of Ampersand Mother

Print of "Making a Home" by Lauren Reese of Ampersand Mother