Home: A dwelling place together where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
I spent most of my life going from house to house within my extended family looking for ‘home’, after losing my mom and dad at a young age. I found dwellings in those places but never quite felt like home. Most of the time, I was just an addition to the family unit that already existed and couldn’t really find my place in the structure.
My husband, KC, and I went to college together, built a home together, and invited others to live with us throughout the years, but I still didn’t quite find a home until Peace House. After moving in to be a full time live-in assistant, I often found myself walking up the back staircase into the kitchen where I was greeted by Jean, sitting in the nook of the kitchen, saying ‘hey buddy!” It felt right to know someone was excited to see me, and actually saw me as me.
In my time living in Peace House, I helped Noah plant sunflowers in the spring and watered throughout the summer. I helped build a garden and would admire it with John. I would often get Jean’s help harvesting cucumbers and squash for dinner helping us feel secure in this place we called home. When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I was most excited to tell my home. John’s excitement of having a baby to love in the home filled me with joy. He would check in often asking when the baby would be here and asking if he could share his trains with them once they got here. He had many concerns for me continuing to work while I was pregnant, asking me “you’re pregnant and you’re working? You amaze me!” To have Peace House shower me with care and affirmations was one step further in the confirmation that this was the ‘home’ I wanted to bring my baby to.
Fast forward to November 2020, KC and I got to bring our baby boy home! We named him Bryan after my dad, and everyone, especially John, was head over heels for him just as we were. John started calling him “baby Ryan” from the beginning and would stare at Bryan and talk to him about trains or construction he saw on his way home, and what art work he was making at Arts of Life.
We welcomed a new core member into Peace House, Casey, and shortly after, Bryan made an appearance and he was excited to have a little one in his home. He since has shared his love of Barney with Bryan and has played music for him and has shown him some good dance moves. I think Bryan raising the roof is all because of Casey!
Jean cooed and rocked Bryan in his seat while I would make a meal and has continued her watch over Bryan as he has gotten older. Bryan likes to get into the fruit that is easily accessible to him and bring them to Jean for her to help him open them. She will say “I’m not your mama, go give it to her” and immediately get my attention to let me know that he is in the fruit and any other mischief he is getting into in the home.
In my time, I have watched people come and go in my years here at L’Arche and every time I walk into Peace House, I still get the feeling of home. It is more than just the walls, the spaces where people gather. Home is sitting around the table or on the couch sharing about the highs and lows of each one’s day. Home is the place where people fill not only the space around you but the spaces in your heart.