1/22/13

House vs. Home . . .

There was a fantastic pop duo (I really did enjoy them) in the 90s called Charles & Eddie. They had a handful of hits but one was aimed at the distinction between a "house" and a "home." The key difference, according to the gents, is that without love and affection a domestic structure is just a house.

Stands to reason - "home" is where the heart is. But, wait, "home" is where you hang your hat too. Hmmm. Let's agree that "house" feels far less emotional and void of any/all "warms" and "fuzzies" as where "home" feels like an emotionally welcoming and embracing place.

This is a picture of a house. It is a nice one. It has a few thousand square feet. Three bathrooms. Four bedrooms. A full basement with a kitchenette. Two car garage. Bright red front door. It is a house full of potential and nice attributes. Alas, it is just a house.

It was a home. It was when I, then happily married and moving my family to Wichita, first entered it. Holding hands with my wife and her carrying our daughter (just shy of a year) in her arms. It was an immediate emotional reaction to a house - it felt like not just "a" home but OUR home. We envisioned Christmases in front of the fire place, the banister festooned with pine. We could hear the (eventual) piano being played. The one bedroom on the ground floor was "perfect" for a playroom. The other would be a guest room for all our company. The kitchen and adjacent dining room would play host to countless Thanksgivings, Christmases, Birthdays, Family dinners, evenings with friends, etc. The basement would be where we'd watch movies and the dark cherry, high efficiency, washer and dryer would always keep us in clean clothes. It would be perfect.

And it was. For a few years. We had the dinners. We did the laundry. We enjoyed the family room and huge master bedroom. Our daughter learned to escape her crib in the nursery. We got a dog - then a cat. We decorated for holidays. Had friends for evenings in. Hid Easter Eggs (still looking for the 24th egg of 2009 - if you see it). We laughed, sang, talked, dreamed, improved, decorated, and tried to be perfect all in the safe confines of our home.

Today it is a house. None of us officially live there. It will be on the market imminently and the little amount of stuff still in will be dealt with - if it just awaits a box, a dumpster, a pick up, or a trip to the donation dock is the only consideration. We've already removed our hopes and dreams. We've already transplanted our child and her toys and her physical trappings. By a year from now we'll have had a cycle of holidays and special events in two separate places (house vs. home is still to-be-determined).

In time, I pray, we will eventually erase (or minimize) the negative moments and happenings inside this house. We'll, hopefully, emphasize, revisit, and hold on to the positive things that we enjoyed in this home. We'll have no more financial or physical connection to the place and our emotional connection will fade. Some other family will make it their home. And I hope they have more time and positive moments to have their visions and dreams come true.

It was a great home. It will be a great home again.