“I don’t want to live in this house!”
Her brown eyes filled with tears and sobs shook her body as she let the words she’d been holding in all day tumble out into the space between us.
I smiled and tugged her toward me with a sigh.
I knew just how she felt because I was just like her.
No matter how wonderful, change is change.
And it’s hard.
We had been in our new home for almost a week now and it was just starting to sink in that she was never going back to the little nest we were all familiar with.
The chipped paint, the crude treehouse, the scribbles on the wall…all blemishes yet somehow so familiar and comforting at the same time.
So…in that first wonderful, yet awkward and challenging first weeks of living in our new home, here are some things I’ve discovered can help you settle in.
- Go places. Walking back through your front door and knowing you’re “home” helps it feel real.
- Bake cookies. It’ll fill your house with delicious smells and help ease the strangeness of it all.
- Burn candles.
- Relax and indulge in a bubble bath…even though there are still boxes to unpack.
- Have friends over.
- Do laundry. Nothing like piles of laundry sitting all over the house to make it feel like home!
- Take time to dream and organize while you unpack.
- Get things on the walls.
- Relax on the couch.
- Read a book.
- Put on some music.
- Let it get a bit dirty.
So there you have it 🙂
In case you’re wondering we all quickly got past the new and awkward feelings and are enjoying our new home SO much!
The whole experience did remind me, however, of the first weeks our girls were home to us.
The first weeks with our newborn son.
The first weeks when a new child has come to stay in our home.
It reminded me to be compassionate of the tears and tantrums and grief that generally accompany those first months with a new foster or adoptive placement.
They’ve left everything familiar…
and even if what they left was not very nice and maybe not even safe…
it was still home.
It was that broken light fixture hanging on by a thread.
The sound of the air conditioner starting up.
The dim blue night light in the hall.
The familiar sweet scent of marijuana covering the clothes and blankets pressed close.
The way she always sang in the shower or the clattering of his hands doing dishes in the evening.
The smudged, stained marks on the bath tub and the thickest red towel that was your favourite.
The stuffy you always slept with that somehow got left behind.
Your favourite pants.
The wallpaper coming off around the edge of your bed where you would pick at it as you were going to sleep.
The sound of the TV blaring in the next room when you woke up in the middle of the night.
To some it would look, feel and smell strange and frightening.
But if it’s all you’ve ever known…it feels like home.
It feels like expectations and predictable.
It feels like comfortable.
Think about what it feels like to stay or sleep in a hotel for the night.
No matter how luxurious it may be…there’s usually still a little part of you that wishes for home when you sink onto that mattress.
The bed doesn’t feel right.
The blankets are a different texture.
The bathroom light is too bright and the street lights cast flickering shadows on the wall.
The sound of the furnace is heavy and stifling…you can’t hear the clock ticking like at home.
Now imagine if you hadn’t chosen to be there at all…
or in fact if you didn’t even know WHERE you were!
Terrifying is hardly adequate to describe it.
We expect so much from these little people sometimes.