It was almost 12 years ago, when my seven year old son and I moved 3 thousand miles across the country- from the West Coast to the East Coast. We packed our things, left everyone and everything we loved behind, and embarked on a new journey. My father loaded his truck with most of our things, we said our goodbyes to our loved ones, and we headed off to our new life and family in Philadelphia. We arrived in Philadelphia with open minds and hearts, and we were greeted by my new husband and my son’s new stepfather.
If I’m being honest, the first few years as a blended family weren’t easy. We worked on learning each other, and practiced a lot of patience and compassion-especially with our son.
When a looking back, I think about the times he (my son) must have felt a yearning for something constant. Something familiar. I left behind so many things that gave him comfort and made him feel at home. Sure he had me, but to child a tangible reminder of the life he knew would have given my boy exactly what he needed…the feeling of home.
And, now 12 years later- with more children in tow, we moved to another state. Although, not far from Philadelphia, the transition has come with its own set of challenges. Whatever wasn’t left behind or given away is stored in boxes and bins stacked in a garage…some in bags sprawled around rooms awaiting for a rightful place.
And here I am in our new home, with unsettling feelings and once again looking for a constant. Something that will calm the hearts of my children while they adapt to the changes around them. Spending hours, searching through boxes and bags so they can fill their days with peace and joy.
I found some of their toys underneath bags of clothing, and boxes of books. I found my eldest daughter’s favorite markers stored in a box carefully marked art supplies, but couldn’t find paints. Surah desperately wanted to paint.
Days later, I received a box of eco Paints from my wonderful friend, Becky, the owner of Chickadees Wooden Toys. This is exactly what they needed…we all needed. I set up our kitchen table with paper, paint brushes, and glass jars filled with water. They watched intently as I unpacked their eco paints and carefully mixed the powders with water. Each powder making it’s own distinct color, and smelled of fresh spices and botanicals- one even had the awakening scent of fresh brewed coffee.
They sat content with their new eco paints, painting rainbows, hearts, and other prints. Faces full of smiles, and laughter bellowing from their tummies.
Now, after a few weeks…we can finally say it’s starting to feel like home.