Most of us consider our homes our sanctuary, our safe haven from the world. Home is the one place where we can be ourselves. Pretenses fall away and our authentic unvarnished selves are revealed. We let our hair down, wear our shabbiest comfy clothing, eat standing up at the counter, burp, cry, and fall asleep in front of the TV.
Of course those statements are only true if there isn’t some dysfunction or power struggle at play. If a wife is walking on eggshells because hubby’s fuse is short, she isn’t safe. If a marriage is imploding the kids will feel and fear the impending chaos and hurt. Home will be anything but safe.
It stands to reason we’re most wrapped up in our own drama. For us, a few months ago, It’s whether our garage construction project will ever be finished. It’s been interesting and expensive making sure this structure is done right. It is a thing of beauty and never got the ?house? warming party so many suggested. Now the annual marathon of paperwork prep for our income tax appointment weighs heavily until It’s done.
But how does our home scene stack up against what others are facing? The recent family holiday reminds me of the pervasive parental fatigue and nonstop work of parenthood especially when one of the kidlets is only fourteen months old and both are ?boy? active.
Or how a daughter’s job as a communications person in a national company spills over into her home life when an employee is killed in an avalanche, company property is destroyed in a Christmas Day driving rampage, or the next round of layoffs is being announced.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that when someone buys an ad or writes a thank you letter to Haying in the 30s in the local newspaper that someone, some household has received that dreaded Big C diagnosis. The lives changed with that news are changed forever. The next weeks and months of treatment and uncertainty cast a pall over the home and test the resolve and faith of all.
As a marriage commissioner, I suspect that couples preparing for upcoming nuptials are both thrilled and traumatized in their houses. Oh, sure there’s the whole love and sole mate aspect but what about the colour of the guy’s cummerbunds? Or the seating plan? Or the trial hairdo that flops?
Or what about households facing job loss, jail time, problem pregnancies, learning disabilities, or financial ruin? Or those planning retirement or launching the last birdie from the nest?
Challenges come in all sizes and shapes. Most of the time none of us would willingly swap our concerns, worries, and trials for someone else’s. Because, as much they take on an all-consuming life of their own and it feels like there is no end in sight, it can always be worse. We just need to be strong enough to face whatever it is, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.