We were driving a van in Uganda over red dirt roads surrounded by lush greens when from the backseat my three year old piped up, “Mom, can we go home now?”. It was amazing to me how such a simple question could elicit in me such a wide range of emotions. I realized as I turned to look at him that I had absolutely no idea where he was referring to and something deep inside me screamed that of all the questions to be simply answered in life this should be one of them and a small panic began to rise within me. I tried to clarify by describing bedrooms and kitchens and friends, did he mean the house near the Nile with his bunk bed and his friend Melut, perhaps the apartment up five flights of stairs with Nuzhenn and preschool and where we ate baba ganoush, or perhaps the apartment in Kinderuma with an outdoor pool where he rode his bike and played with Amani, or the simple answer of the home we were staying at in Uganda for the week. I worked a bit with him before resigning myself to the fact that I had no idea how to answer that question for my little man. I had no idea what he meant, there were too many meanings for home in his mind. The car continued to bounce over the roads and the question sat with us unanswered.
After packing up our apartment in North Africa, holidaying in Uganda for a week and two very long red eye flights we arrived in Kenya. The guesthouse was filled with cockroaches but had a sense of familiarity to it. With determination in 24 hours we had unpacked all our belongings, hung photos, meal planned, eradicated thousands of cockroaches and begun homeschool. As homemade spaghetti simmered from the stove, I re-thought about the concept of “home”, not as a constant place to place our heads (although that is lovely) but more as a state of being, the state of being settled. The state of choosing to be content in the place you have, of fighting for routines and rhythms and embracing the changes. The art of creating a home from a few wall hangings and a lovely quilt that symbolizes that this abode is where we will build memories and live for a season and that the quilting together of all these seasons one day will turn into a lifetime.
So we are “home” here in Kenya. For about four weeks we are settled here. Several days ago while driving from the airport at 3am with a taxi full of luggage 5yr old W-man proclaimed, “well we are home, know how I know Mom we have all our stuff and us”. So home is where we find ourselves and our “stuff”. Home is where we set up routines and life rhythms and where we find ourselves living. Home is where we create meals and memories together.
As soon as I hung the quilt my sister made us on the front door D-man stopped asking if we were going home, he knew we were. D-man didn’t need to know for how long or what came next he was happy to know that for now this is where we would build memories together. And truly there are no other five people I’d love to build a house of memories with then my family. So today I am so blessed to be writing this from my home for a bit where we are playing games, building memories, seeking the Lord and living life together.