I’ve learned that home isn’t a place. It’s a feeling.

Cecelia Ahern

As much as I’m looking forward to fall and even the holidays, I tend to “stress out” over my house this time of year. Images in magazines, online, and social media show beautifully appointed porches with an assortment of pumpkins, mums, and various other decorations. We live “out” where not too many people see our house. Also, I’m trying to be financially wise as my husband isn’t back at work yet due to back surgery. I don’t naturally have a decorator’s eye, but I do know what I like. There’s also the challenge of time. It takes time and energy to make a house look like a Pinterest board.

I got sick this week. On Tuesday, I started getting a scratchy throat. In my line of work, that’s never a good sign. Wednesday was about the same… by Friday I was having trouble talking. Saturday I thought a train had hit me. Break out the antibiotic. I had full intentions of decorating for fall, but between feeling awful and the weather still imitating summer, none of the decorating commenced.

My eldest came home from college Friday night to hugs and a partially redecorated (and clean) room. I missed him so much, and was more than happy to have him and a friend of his come with him. Our middle child spent time at the movies and decorating for homecoming with classmates. She and a friend decided last minute to go to homecoming. Really, sweetheart? Last year we spent four hours in one place. Tears, weeping, and gnashing of teeth were included in the harrowing “errand.” Not this year. “Mommy’s sick. You have 20 minutes flat to pick one,” I said. Y’all. She found one in 15 minutes! We came home (by this time I had chills) and I got in bed.

We missed church Sunday because I’m not a fan of sharing my germs with nice people. Seriously. Azithromycin is like gold, but it takes awhile to start working. I was able to spend a little time with the caboose baby. He’s precious, y’all. We played puzzles, walked around outside (later when it wasn’t hot), and read before bedtime. He pointed to the mommy in the book and asked quizzically, “Dat’s da mommy?” “Yes, precious.” I said. “That’s Elmo’s mommy.” “You MY mommy.” He stated emphatically. Goodness, he’s sweet.

As I get in bed early, still feeling drained from my cold, I look around and my mind begins to race. There is a bowl beside the bed of leftover soup, there are clean clothes in the laundry room, and more clothes to wash. I need to look up ideas for an apple theme (I teach preschool). “What have I done this weekend?” I think to myself.

My eldest went back to college with clean clothes and homemade goodies because I stayed up late to be a blessing to him.

My daughter experienced the excitement of a last-minute homecoming find because I took the time to take her (even though I didn’t feel the best).

My baby got to snuggle and spend time with his momma because I made time for him (who wouldn’t… he’s a doll).

And I made a decision. My family comes before this house. I like a clean house. I really like a decorated house. But houses are made to be lived in, so I will do my best. I will decorate for fall…eventually. Because this isn’t just a house. We love, live, and, yes, make memories and messes here.

This house is a home.

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