bookmark_borderI love my home.

A distant mountain with a snowy peak is flanked by green mountains on either side.  A perfectly still lake acts as a mirror to the landscape and sky.  This is my Home.
Photo by Kevin Bidwell from Pexels

Home, for me, is more than a place. It’s even more than the people who fill it. Home eludes description.

Not every place I have lived has been Home. Some have been mere dwellings– filled with our possessions, filled with the people I love. I organized the possessions, I did all the necessaries, and I loved the people in those spaces. Those places were where we slept, ate, worked, laughed, fought, and cried. But they weren’t Home. Whenever we lived in one of those spaces, I had a visceral, constant ache for Home. It was subtle but it was ever present.

That feeling wasn’t unlike the feeling I had as a teenager, wondering who I would marry someday. Hoping I would meet him soon (and not scare him away). I always knew he was out there, somewhere, and that certainty kept me from settling for less than. Well, whenever we lived in mere dwellings, that’s the same sensation I had. Home was out there, somewhere. That ache that said, “Don’t settle for this.”

We’ve been married almost 24 years. We’ve lived in ten places. Only three of those ten places have been Home. When I think of the two Homes that have been left to our history, it is hard not to cry. It’s not unlike thinking of a loved one who has lived a good life and passed peacefully away. You know that your time with them is done, and that it was Good. Yet, you wish you could go back are re-live some of it, at least a little. You close your eyes and re-play the tape, in your mind.

Thankfully, where we live now is Absolute Home. We discovered it in 2013 and I cried the first time we came up the drive. We’re still here and, God willing, we’ll never leave.

Tomorrow morning I’m leaving it. I’m leaving Home. I’m leaving my husband, four of my children, my pets, my flowers, my garden, my messes, my routines, my favorite spots. I’m leaving dear friends. I’m leaving my early morning walks to the pond with my dogs. I’m leaving the sound of the trains and the crickets. I’m leaving the rustic nature of the most beautiful place on earth. It’s hard not to break down.

It’s entirely possible that the place we will stay for the next two months will be a Home. I picked it based on an inner resonance I had with the photos. I’m hoping that when we settle in, after the nervousness wears off, we’ll bond with it. Of course, that will mean a little pang when we leave. But the pang of parting will be worth it, to have a Home waiting for us at the end of what may be very exhausting days.

If it turns out that we just have a place to stay, that will be okay, too. It will keep us focused on the goal–returning Home with my teen who will be hopeful for his own future, ready with skills to meet each day.

Tomorrow is the day! The journey is starting.

bookmark_borderToday I sat in the sun.

A woman is holding a flower, her eyes closed, as the sun shines on her face peacefully.  She feels good.
Depression and anxiety in your teen will take more than you have to give. When you have a moment’s peace, and you can afford to take it, I hope you count it as progress. Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels

Today I took care of my own mental health, just for a bit. It felt good. Today I took care of the mom.

My youngest wanted me to play with her. I was too emotionally tired to do that. But I told her I would love to be outside with her and chat with her while she played.

We’ve had a lovely summer, warm enough for the tomatoes to do well and for swimming to feel good, but not too hot. We only needed air conditioning a few times. Yesterday it got quite chilly, suddenly. Today was very cool, also. It’s supposed to warm up again, summer isn’t over yet. But, for today, it felt so good to be warm in the sun.

I had other things I should have been doing. We are leaving in only a few days and there’s much to prepare.

But, today I sat in the sun.

The household was calm and quiet (it can be the exact opposite, most of the time). Just as I was thinking I had indulged for long enough, I heard some swear words from my son in need, directed at a sibling. His OCD had been triggered. It was time to go in, time to head back to “work.”

The quiet and peace may be rare in your home, like it is in my home. I encourage you to make a mental bookmark of those times. To see them as progress, to see them as hope, to help you see your child. And take some time to enjoy them.

There is a cost. If I’m honest, I get extremely frustrated by the advice to me, as the mom, to make sure to take care of myself. The cost is often too high. If I take some time to myself, everything is still waiting for me and has possibly multiplied. Kitchens don’t clean themselves. Children don’t brush their teeth, pick up their toys, and put themselves to bed without a parent making sure it happens. If you’ve been Parent A for many years, like I have, then you know the cost. Nobody will pick up your slack. It waits for you. If you also have a child with a mental health issue, the stress, worry, and work increase exponentially.

Once in while, there are enough things done and no current storms. When those moments come, enjoy some time in the sun.

If you’re a mental health mom, take care of her, too.