I spend a lot of time at home. About 85% of my life happens behind the closed door of our brightly-colored, overflowing-with-laundry, two-bedroom house. My husband and I and our four children (ages 6 and under) share every room. Our bedroom is the hangout spot during the day, the living room is where we teach and record music. The girls’ room is also the boys’ room, which is also the corner library where we drink tea and read books. The kitchen is the dining room, and the dining room is the school room. The laundry room is where the baby sleeps during the day, because it is the only place that is quiet. The bathrooms are currently only bathrooms, although Randy has been known to record whistle and guitar in there for the beautiful acoustics.
This is all true.
Our house is full to the brim of musical instruments, toys, clothes, art supplies, books, movies, seashell and rock collections, those little sippy cups with character-heads, pencils, paper, recyclables, etc. There are moments, at the end of the 15% of time away when I come back and see everything strewn about, that it nearly knocks the wind out of me.
Sometimes living here is like living in a tornado, with all of these little people who are in constant motion, spinning and twirling, lifting things from one place and dropping them in another. You can find whole decks of cards that have been blown into every corner of the house–some sticking straight out of the cracks in the wall. How can one little storm be so powerful?
I have been searching for the eye. Where everything is calm. Where you can live while everything around is in motion. Where you can have peace.
I would like to share something with you that is bringing me a lot of peace in the chaos of life with small children and scrambling around to make ends meet. I think it is pretty profound. This is my secret:
More than ever, I am trying to really be here. Not like I want to do away with that last 2% (NEVER THAT!!!). What I mean is when I am home, I am really here with my heart.
One way I have noticed that I leave home (without ever walking out the door) is letting my idle mind go straight to the world outside these walls. Checking email, scanning Facebook, seeing if anyone responded to this or that. It is a habit that we, as a culture, are cultivating more and more every day. I do not want us to get to a point in life where all six of us are sitting around the kitchen/dining/school room, having conversations with the rest of the world, staring into the palms of our hands instead of talking to one another.
This is what I am telling myself, and maybe it will mean something to you, too.
Turn off the smart phone. Put the whole wide world away (back in your pocket/purse, where it belongs), and set aside some sacred time for your family. If it is one hour a day, two hours, three… From dinner-time to bedtime… Let your family know that you will be looking into their eyes at that time, that no text or email will distract you from whatever it is that they are trying to say. I want to teach this to my children. I want them to know that they are more important to me than: scanning the newsfeed to see everyone’s rants and raves, hearing about all the minor injustices of friends’ and aquaintances’ lives, and/or viewing the mouth-watering photographs of their perfect lasagnas. I want my husband to know that I enjoy his company more than the company of the virtual world. That world will try to knock down your virtual door every minute of every hour, 24-7, 365 and 1/4 days a year. Slip on the do-not-disturb sign, deadbolt the lock, make a pot of tea, and cozy up with the people that can look into your eyes. The people who can touch you. The people you can touch.
Have a conversation. Sit in silence. Play a board game. Take a walk. Watch a movie, for heaven’s sake. But do it together. And put the world away.
Check out our new cd, Home on our website: www.thejosephinekot.com