Wednesday, 16 November 2011

home sweet home

This wasp nest has been hanging in the tree in our front yard for the summer. It's only obvious in the fall when the leaves start leaving the tree. It's huge - a bit bigger than a basketball.

The really weird thing about this nest is that 2 years ago, wasps built a nest in this exact tree, in this exact spot. We cut off the branch that held that nest. Last year there was no nest. But this year - there it was again.

It must be a good spot. It reminded me of the kids' book: The Best Nest, where 2 birds go in search of their dream home, only to come back to the exact place that they started. These wasps have obviously found a place that they like - that's the perfect mix of warmth and protection - and they return.

We took this nest down yesterday because Eden wanted to have a good look at it. We opened it up and looked inside. It was amazing. There were different levels - kind of like an apartment building - incredibly intricately built.

And it made me think about having a place of our own that's the perfect mix of warmth and protection. Our house is fine, but we dream of something else. Something that feels a little more permanent. But our criteria for this house feels so overwhelming sometimes that I don't even want to start looking. I would like a dreamy home (not a dream home - that feels like too huge of a task) where we all feel like returning to.

But then I think of our Afghan foster daughter - who moved so many times even within Kabul that she can't quite remember - and this feels selfish, this dreamy home dream. Why can't I be satisfied? Is this part of my more-more-more problem?

I grew up in the same house since I was 2 - the farm where my parents still live. I have a very permanent view of home. My husband moved around a lot, so he can look at a lot of options without feeling attached.

We moved here 5.5 years ago, and we kind of saw this as a 5 year house. But now it's hard to decide what's next. Living in community - ecovillage style - was something that has appealed to us, and we visited 2 ecovillages to spy out the possibilities. Being there, though, made us realize it might not be quite what we're after. A bit too intense and too many meetings. But the community part of it was appealing. And then there's the urban/suburban/country question. Where is the best nest for our family?

I wish I could be like the wasps. Happy with a sun-drenched branch on a quiet street.


  1. rebecca, so much to think about here. i identify with much of what you're saying. i find myself always wondering if there's a "better" home/place out there for us. i'm quite happy in our current home and town, but there's always this little part of me that questions and wonders.
    why do we do this???

    like you, i wouldn't mind adopting the wasps' approach...happiness on a sun-drenched simple and so lovely.

  2. We are in our "dreamy house." But it wasn't planned. I feel incredibly fortunate that we landed here when we were looking to buy a house in K-W eight and a half years ago. In fact, we'd hoped to move close to my parents, who were still together at the time, and even put an offer on a house near theirs. It almost seemed, in retrospect, that this house was waiting for us to find it. It probably wouldn't be most people's dreamy house: it's on a busy street close to uptown. But we can imagine being here forever. This is longest I've ever lived anywhere, and like your husband I moved often as a child, so it's been a surprise to realize how settled I feel, and how happy I am to be settled. Largely it's due to our neighbourhood which has a very close community feel, even though it's currently lacking in green spaces and has no community centre. But it's close-knit, and people work hard to keep it close-knit. If I were looking for a dreamy house now, I'd be looking for a strong neighbourhood feel. Also, I don't think it's just a more-more-more longing, the longing for home and community.

  3. Michelle - I know what you mean. Some people talk about finding their house like they found a soul mate - "you just know" when you've found the right one. I would love to have that feeling, but that feels like to big an expectation to place on a house.

    Carrie: You're right. That's exactly what we're yearning for: home and community. Perhaps we'll have to search in your close-knit community!