What makes home one that you would never want to leave?
Likely your answer has a lot to do with how your Mother, Amma or Grandmother created a culture of family around you through experiences.
For me, home is not a place. Home is a feeling. Home is where they understand you.
My Amma Anna Sigvaldason’s kitchen in Riverton, Manitoba on Lake Winnipeg was the centre of our summer universe as children. Summers were spent playing cards, reading comics while munching on sunflower seeds, playing games in the yard or at the park house, fishing, swimming at Sandy Bar or jumping off the dock at Hnausa, or helping out with household chores along with my brothers and many of my 20 first cousins. And of course, eating the best food you could ever want.
One unforgettable day at Sandy Bar was very different from all those days. There were many cousins and aunties, and this time was Amma too. It was some kind of special occasion for all to visit the beach together.
It must have been after supper. Maybe Afi and the Uncles were fishing. Someone had brought a folding aluminium chair with green plastic variegated woven strips and placed the chair solidly on the beach for Amma to sit.
As I sat at her feet on the sand, our beautiful red-haired Amma was made even more striking with that particular kind of Lake Winnipeg reflected sunset on the white streaks in her fresh basin washed and daughter brushed curls.
She was wearing her best navy blue going out dress and white sweater over her shoulders, held just at the neck on both sides with a gold flowered sweater pin. She pulled the skirt of her dress tightly over her knees and around her elastic woven hose which finished at her sturdy black shoes with one heel built up to support her leg shortened by hip surgery.
I admired her hands. Those hands created magic in the making of the most fragrant bread, doughnuts, cakes and vínarterta, healed many and felt good wrapped around me as she whispered ‘Elskan mín’.
I sat on the sand and looked up at my Amma and felt alert to her protection and well-being. My brothers and cousins were running down the beach and my Mother and Aunties were talking about all things the way they do.
I stayed in my spot feeling warm and happy as I began to build a sandcastle. It was a very small sandcastle. More like a house, really. I wet the sand and packed it into shape and decorated it with little pieces of lake worn coloured glass, pebbles, and feathers. Amma helped select beautiful shells in different sizes for every one of our forty family members.
The last piece was the door, a tiny white triangular smooth pebble, placed at the entrance to our family home, surrounded by glass jewel windows.
Amma’s face and words were etched forever for me at that moment when as I touched the door she said, “This is a home I would never want to leave.”
Home is not a place. Home is a feeling. Home is where they understand you. I knew that then.
Celebrate home wherever you are. I celebrate with you! 🙂
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