All the places I have lived have held a part of my heart (even if I was pretty ready to move from some of them… like Jarvis Hall… amiright, Caitlin?!?). They have included many of my favorite people and allowed me to accumulate stories and treasures and memories that will last a lifetime. They tell of good and hard stuff, but mostly good, and mostly full, and mostly worth remembering and retelling. Maybe since I’m a homebody, my favorite home is the one I’m in when you ask me. Right now I really love my current home, Old House Hill. For so many reasons. Jaron and I have put a lot of thought and actual work into making this house a home. We’ve bonded and grown as a team in each little project. We’ve made it our own. It holds our unique, weird, whimsical, and often just boring and messy things. It holds our pets, pictures, candles, food, clothes, and gifts passed down from family members that show where we've come from. This is the place we’ve brought both our babes home to from the hospital. That alone is enough for it to be my very favorite. To be the place where I feel rooted today.
There is a spot in this little ol’ home that has especially taken hold of me. Let me give you some background (On top of all the above background. Okay, I get it, I’m not brief.). When Emmitt was born, his room was nowhere near ready. Or at least, not in the way I envisioned it. I like decorating, so of course I was so eager to decorate my first child’s room. But things were everywhere, nothing was hung up or organized. I had some not insignificant baby blues after E’s birth, and the disarray in his room didn’t help those feelings one bit. In retrospect, the room acted as a symbol for what I was feeling as a new, overwhelmed mom. There felt like so much to do and manage and how was I ever going to keep this brand new baby happy and safe?!? Maybe it all sounds silly, but it felt very real at the time. When I was pregnant with Cora, I made sure to tell myself over and over that the room didn't matter. We would finish it sometime, like we had with Emmitt. And babies sure don’t care what the room looks like anyway. While I wanted things a little more organized, it didn’t have to be perfect when she came home (or ever, because when are things ever really perfect?). Prepping myself was helpful, but that baby girl’s room actually was mostly ready by the time she was born. Honestly, that was so good for my soul (and my obsessive-compulsive tendencies). I remember feeling such peace those first few days home, rocking and nursing Cora in the chair in her room.
The chair in Cora’s room. It’s the most comfortable chair ever made. You're certain of it. It is the perfect size. Big enough to fit a pillow, specifically a boppy pillow for nursing and cuddling a little one. Big enough to shove some sweet books in the side that you’ll read over and over, so many times, that you really don’t need to look at the words. Big enough to recline back and sleep in comfortably, because you'll sleep there many nights. More nights than you can imagine. Small enough to be cozy and nurturing. Small enough to feel like you’re not alone. And so soft, but not without structure. It's shape is inviting, it's color just right. It has aged well. You know this chair. Your parents-in-law bought it before Emmitt was born. You weren't aware at that time how dear this chair would become. But you now know that your heart will break a little the day it's no longer needed to rock your babes.
Your big boy, every once in a while, wants you to cuddle him in that chair too, like when he was a baby. Even though it's been out of his room for almost two years now. Even though he doesn't really need to be rocked to sleep anymore. Recently he tearfully told you that it was his chair and he wanted it back in his room. You understood. Sometimes it's hard growing up and having life change. For me too, little one. For me too.
Across from the chair is a gallery wall. You and your guy have gotten pretty good at gallery walls. This one was gathered and put together just for Cora Marie. You think it's pretty. You have an odd style. There are many times you wish it could be more normal. But with Cora's room, you don't wish a thing different. It is just as you wanted. The thing about a gallery wall is that it can hold all your busy, sentimental treasures and make it look put together, collected. Or at least, that's what you keep telling yourself. You would rock that teeny, newborn girl, saying over and over to yourself how sweet you thought she was, and look at that wall with the sunlight from the windows behind you streaming in. You would see each piece on that wall and remember when you got it, and why you wanted it for your girl.
That chair and that wall. And everything in between. It's a place in your home that you know well. Sometimes it has been tough though. When you're so tired that you feel like an actual crazy person. When your body aches and your mind is troubled by life and parenting. Then you remember something your priest and your friend said in a sermon last year. When Cora was 7 or 8 months old and you were in one of those crazy person stages. You can't remember all the details of the sermon, but you remember him saying that when you're going through difficult times, Jesus comes and walks through them with you, takes the pain and difficulty on too. And immediately you thought of that chair. Which is kind of weird, sure, but ever since then, you imagine Jesus wrapping his arms around you and your littles, comforting you, sitting there too, as you sleepily, sometimes anxiously, try to get them to go to bed night after night (For the love by the way, you really can't get kids to sleep.).
That chair and that wall. And everything in between. Hold many of your most cherished moments in life. With your two most cherished little humans in life.
Photos by Hannah Kate Photography, back when Cora was a newborn.