The clutter of a home well lived in tells the story of your life — the photographs, your books, the items you have bought on your trips and the drawing that your daughter made for you in third grade.
These things are the meaningful treasures, allowing visitors to get a taste of your life.
When I was a child and watched a movie about a family returning to their childhood home, it always made me sad. These homes in the films would have attics filled with the stuff of a family’s life, dreams and memories.
When we left Cuba in 1963, we left everything behind. Although they were material things, they were important to us because of their sentimental value.
I would have loved to be able to rummage through my grandparent’s attic and find pictures of my mother as a child. I’ve never seen pictures of my maternal grandparents as newlyweds or of their life in Cuba.
I wish I had my mother’s wedding dress, the family photo albums we had to leave behind, and the safari hat my grandfather Pedro used to wear around the ranch.
Unlike those first few years in the United States when I felt my heart belonged in Cuba, I now feel a deep connection with my hometown.
French philosopher Simone Weil said, “To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.”
My roots are firmly planted in McAllen. I am blessed that my grandchildren will never have to experience a life away from the people they love and they get to sleep in the house where their parents grew up.
I am blessed that they can look through old family albums and the stuff that make up the lived-in-ness of a home filled with love.
There is nothing like Christmas to remind us of the importance of love and family, and coming home to the familiar things that remind of us of who we are.
Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer and certified parent coach with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter at @PowerOfFamily and on Instagram at @mlsalcines. You can also contact her on her blog, FamilyLifeandFindingHappy.com.