Since yesterday's post, I've been thinking a lot about Yankee Candles, home, and how scents can make you feel home. That got me to wondering: what makes a house a home? What is the difference between a residence to spend your days and nights in, and a home where a family lives?
Only one of the homes we've lived in has been anything remotely considered big (and even that one would still be small on many standards), which has been interesting considering we are a family of six. But we've made it work. I may not have have been in love with our previous house, for example, but for seven years, it was home. Why? What was it about the house that made it home?
Of course, home is anywhere my family is. That's a given. But it's more than that, as our arrival at this house in our transitional country showed me in August. Our former house was lovingly decorated by me. We own a mishmash of furniture, none of it anything remotely resembling quality (with perhaps the exception of our bed) furniture. We don't own any expensive paintings---all of our wall coverings were Thomas Kinkade jigsaw puzzles I'd pieced together, glued, and then framed. Nothing fancy. Our family pictures were encased in cheap, Walmart frames. The biggest extravagance in the house were the Yankee Candles I'd collected over the years.
My in-laws, former missionaries themselves, had wisely advised me to bring all of my cherished pictures and knick-knacks that made home home for me. But as we're only gone for two years this time, I really didn't think I'd need these things. And let's face it, glued-together puzzles would most likely not travel well. So, they went into storage. With all of our other pictures and knick-knacks (and my candles). We did bring a digital photo album that had a bunch of different family pictures on it. Those, I deemed at the time, would be the most important thing tying us to home.
But I was wrong.
In all honesty, I haven't turned it on above five times. And those times it was on, I did it more for the kids than for me. I haven't really even missed my lovely framed puzzles. Our walls look extremely bare, but that is because there are few nails (and it's very hard to hang pictures on cement walls) on which to hang pictures. So, we've compensated by hanging things from the ceiling. You think I kid, but I do not. We made colorful autumn leaves out of construction paper and hung those this fall. At Christmas, we decorated construction paper trees, ornaments, and candy canes (with glitter!) and hung those. We intended to do spring flowers, but haven't quite gotten to them yet, so the white strings still hang from the ceiling, waiting for the next decorations.
The one thing, surprisingly, that has helped me feel the most at home were those candles! Who knew? For some missionaries, it might be different things. For me, it was scent. Cinnamony scents in the autumn. Pepperminty scents at Christmas. And now, springy, fruity scents for spring and summer. All make this house home. When I walk in the door, the scent of the candles greets me and instantly soothes.
I look forward to making our next house a home in Mexico City. And you can bet that it will include Yankee Candles.