A few days ago my 7 year old daughter and I were biking along the river bank — enjoying the sunshine — and trying to spot gophers and geese.
“Mama” she said, “let’s look for houses that look the comfiest.”
Smiling at this idea I turned my eyes away from the river – towards the houses on the other side, and began looking for the comfy ones. The river bank is full of beautiful homes and it didn’t take me long to find some, but she was already pointing to her own picks. Her choices, although fairly cute, all had something about them that made them not necessarily “nice” to look at.
Curious about this I asked her “What does a comfy house look like?”
“Well “ she said, “it’s not perfect, but it’s nice. It’s really nice cause it feels nice to live in. Like our house.”
Thinking about this I paid attention to the ones she chose and this is what I saw…
Children’s bikes and toys strewn all over the walkway and front yard of a little character home. A cedar house that looked years over due for a restain, and a plain house thats only identifying feature was a person sitting on the front deck reading.
“That one looks just like ours mama.” she said.
My initial reaction was to say that I didn’t think that house looked anything like ours except that it was tiny, but I stopped the words before they came out of my mouth. She isn’t looking for perfection I thought, she’s looking for a place she’d “feel nice to live in.”
As we biked on I thought about her view of what’s nice and comfy and how in her innocence it has nothing to do with perfection at all. I then thought about my own home and how there are chips in the paint and gaps between the hard wood in the floor. It’s small and tight – like a hug from someone who really cares about you. It’s warm inside and smells like home made cooking and sometimes stinky dog. “It’s not perfect, but it’s nice.”
Then I thought of my body — the other home that I live in and how just that morning in the shower I lovingly washed the parts that maybe aren’t as nice to look at. Or are they? The elaborate spiral pattern on my stomach – stretched from the 4 babies carried in it. It’s got a different texture than the rest of my skin and no matter how hard I exercise, it can’t tighten back to the way it used to be. It’s imperfect but it’s soft and warm to touch, and it’s the place my daughter reaches her little hands for when she wants to cuddle.
I thought of how both my home and my body respond to loving care – A fresh coat of paint or good, healthy food. And how sometimes loving care means eating big juicy burgers or wrestling in the living room.
“It’s really nice cause it feels nice to live in.”
According to Senaya it seems that the comfiest homes are the ones that tell a story on the outside, of the joys and the sorrows of the owners on the inside. From my tiny library out front, to my window trim that needs repainting. From the loose skin on my belly to my c-section scar. These things make me and my home comfy to her and – I like to think – to anyone else who loves me. My body isn’t perfect, but it’s nice. It’s really nice because it feels nice to live in….
**** Thank you to my wise little girl Senaya for teaching me to look at my comfy body/home in a new way.