The day I discovered my house was made of paper.

On October 3rd 2016, I wrote:

Upon my return home from an overseas holiday, I got into one of the storage boxes I’d left outside on the veranda, when I found a very large Huntsman spider enclosing herself behind a multi-layered web, protecting her developing egg sac. A week on, I noticed a hundred tiny bright green spider babies had emerged and remained closely huddled within their web, their vigilant mother immediately next to them. They remained for days, but as it happens with all offspring, they eventually leave the nest. Unfortunately, here in this empty nest, only the mother’s corpse remained; a depleted ball of exoskeleton. Her recently built home was a womb for her children, and a tomb for herself.

The other mother on this property, c’est moi, also lives in a web of sorts, that she contemplates on the daily, trying desperately to find a way to thrive within its finite space. She wonders how she can create something that makes her feel both secure and liberated at the same time. Perhaps it is as simple as leaving an opening on one side of her web where she can come and go as she pleases…unlike that silly martyr of a spider.

So how do we evolve while we are standing still? While we are creating a safe space for our young families to grow. Some of us are happily still, stable, cultivating our gardens, but listen here dear reader, I am not of that kind. I bore easily, and I love and thrive in change. Although often perceived as the ideal character type for the young and single, come motherhood, the other “stable” kind are more revered in our society. There is nothing wrong with my kind. We are not indecisive flakes, we’re just fluid. So what happens when you confine water? It becomes a pond. Ponds are stagnant and full of duck shit, and except for ducks and snails, that is not good for anyone. So what is it that we are supposed to do here? Children need stability, and without a doubt, mine have it, but does this have to mean a mortgage, one address, one job, and a house full of things, or as I like to call them “beautiful nothings,” for the rest of my life?  Someone wiser than me once told me “You need to be THAT home for your children,” that my children’s home of stability and security lies within me, not a physical address. It is the structure and quality of my internal home that determines their level of protection from life’s storms. From the outside, I’ve been told that I am confident, tough, and successful. One might even assume that my home within was solid, and made of stone. Oh but on the inside, within its fragile paper architecture, my sanity dangles from a very thin thread.

While waiting to become a mother for the first time, I began creating the material home that I was told that I needed in order to be the best mother and wife I could be. It was in a safe place, with a safe person, on an acreage, with fruit trees, rainforest, fresh air, and distant views of the sea. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, despite its beauty, over time, all of the possibilities and dreams that I had projected onto that space for myself and my growing family, became steel bars. And after a long and exhausting battle with the reality of who I was, I became depleted. In exhaustion, there I stood, not yet ready for the death of self. While my material home radiated with children’s laughter, artwork, and hummed with nurturing vibes, the home within me was wet and weathered, and I was dying, entombed in the beautiful house that I intentionally enclosed us all into.

I remember that day where I saw my future, where I was forgotten, and only known by the adjectives “wife” and “mother.” Now don’t get me wrong here, I was full of gratitude for both of these positions, however, didn’t want to be img_0601solely these things. When I looked within, I was confronted with the view
of my fragile home which contained only relics of my self. I was dying. rushed in, and like the dancing Shiva, I destroyed it all, releasing myself from the snare of illusion, hoping for a chance of renewal, that something better would grow out of these now paper ruins. As each piece of paper blew away, I could see my origin, the very dirt that my self had been built upon. I stood there staring at the view of this now very open space, and albeit a little shaken, I felt liberated and alive, my bare feet planted firmly in the earth, and my children standing next to me, holding onto my legs, feeling loved and safe, knowing that our next home was going to be grand.

2 thoughts on “The day I discovered my house was made of paper.

  1. I love your honesty. I think being a parent is challenging and often leaves us full of self doubt. I have found that, at various times, I have embraced many aspects of motherhood and each has had different challenges. My children change, I change, life changes-not always in that order. The wonderful thing is that the choice is always mine and the answers are always within me. What is right for me may not be right for anyone else, but we must all run our own race-I think the animal world teaches us that.


  2. I love that you realized that the security you want for your children lies in you not the material box (house) you raise them in.
    Your reflections remind me of the house I was raised in. My parents never moved. I was so attached to every nook and cranny of that loving place. My childhood rested in its bones. Love, acceptance and safety were housed there. I could not imagine life without that touchstone. However……when my parents died I returned to that house and it was just a paper box. The love was gone, the safety had disappeared, the memories had floated away. It became so clear that all those foundations of my life were not in the box but in those people. When they left they took it with them and left a dry and empty shell.
    Nurture the mother not the box 📦.

    Liked by 1 person

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