Home Sweet Home

 In Writer in Residence

I started building my dream home in high school. My father is a kind man and helped me with the construction. I couldn’t have asked for a better person, after all, he built the home I grew up in.

I am not sure what drew me into wanting to build a doll house. Maybe I knew I would never have the chance to build or decorate my own home. A home is a place where you feel safe and secure. A home is a place of love; a place where dreams are dreamed and memories are made.

Now 30 years later my doll house still isn’t finished; this house has been a labor of love.

I took time decorating each room. Each piece has a special memory. My mother’s train set is in the children’s room. Coffee cups bearing my grandparents’ names rest on the kitchen table. This house of mine is safe and full of love. Dreams, games, laughter, and memories are held inside. This home has been dropped and yet she still stands. My home does have one flaw: I still have to clean her room by room.

When I go out into the world I am drawn to homes. I like to go to home shows and historical home tours, and I love to look room by room. Each home has a unique character and charm, and I love everything right down to the tiny details. When I enter each room I take a deep breath. The room has a feeling, some have love, some have loneliness, and others burst with the sunshine of happiness. Someone loved this home room by room. I wonder what this home could tell me about time, love, despair, brokenness, and life.

During one of my days in darkness, I was driving my car. I had no idea where I was going, and I was crying so hard it was unsafe. My mind screamed at me to pull over, which I did and then I really begin to sob. About 10 minutes later I grabbed five tissues and began to calm down. I looked out my front windshield and saw a for sale sign. I got out of my car and looked at the home. It was a beautiful historic home with lots of charm and character. I felt love and peace, and a feeling that I was going to be okay. I drove away feeling better about myself.

A few weeks later I was on a drive with my mother. She pulled in front of the same house where I had my meltdown and said, “This was your great grandparent’s home.” I was in shock. I was drawn to the home of my family. This was the home where my grandfather, a man full of love, was raised. Their love calmed me in the mist of my own personal storm; I imagine this home was the heart of their family and their memories.

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels
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