House: (noun) def. 1. a building for human habitation.
Home: (noun) def. 1. the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. The family or social unit occupying a home. A place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.
We’d spent nearly all of the past year, a stress-filled 2015, planning, designing and constructing the house. I certainly have never had so much stress and anxiety in my life (in fact, if you combined all of the stress in my previous 32 years of life, I think this past year alone would have surpassed momentously). But now, over the past four weeks we have actually gotten to live in this place – and experience what exactly we’d been working toward. But during the initial couple of weeks of December, I continued to call it the house. As in, “we are at the house now,” instead of “we are home now.”
I realized that the house had been associated so much with work and stress and was not “a place where something flourishes” for me – yet. I suspected that this would gradually change once we moved our furniture in and started hanging things on the walls. But really, this still didn’t change my terminology. Forcing myself to call it “home” just seemed weird to me. Even though we were living in the house, it wasn’t home yet.
I suspected this would gradually change – at least I hoped it would. I’d heard that building a house is like child birth (being a dude, I doubt I will have the experience to draw on direct correlation here) but from what I’ve been told, a woman goes through some of the worst pain imaginable in labour and delivery but at the end has a baby that she loves dearly. And suddenly, by some evolutionary trick of the mind, she essentially forgets or does not care how painful the process was. Often she will go through this same pain again more than once, knowing full well that the pain to get there was so terrible – but the reward so great.
For me, in the initial three weeks of being in the house, although it is beautiful and exactly what we had been hoping for, I still wasn’t at the forgetting the pain part yet.
But as it was in the last week, just before our Christmas break, I said to my friend, “We will be at home tonight.” And just like that, without any intention or forethought about it, I stopped referring to it as the house and started to call it home.
On New Year’s Eve, my wife and I decided to reminisce and read back through the blog posts I’d made here in the past year (yes I know – we are crazy crazy party animals). And wouldn’t you know, it was amazing how many things we’d forgotten already! We kept saying “I can’t believe that happened!” or “Oh man, I forgot about that – that sucked!” or “how did we get through that?” Truthfully we did not read through all of the posts… I think we made it to September 2015, at which point my wife said she couldn’t handle reading anymore as it was giving her anxiety!
A friend of ours, who has also built a custom house, recently said to us, “I’m so glad you are at the living in and loving it stage.” Indeed we are.
I can now look around the house and instead of thinking of my to-do list, I just think, “this is my home.”