Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie books wrote that “home is the nicest word there is.”
Home is the one place where I can tiptoe down the stairs before everyone else is awake, and know the creaky spot on the fourteenth step to avoid. It’s a place where I can drink a cup of tea from my favourite mug, and curl up under the quilt that’s hung over the back of the nubuck chair by the fireplace. When I bury my face in the quilt, I know it will smell of wood-stove and lavender laundry detergent and the milky, sweet scent of our darling Eloise.
Home is a place where I know which taps and windows leak and at what time of day the most beautiful rays of sunshine will stream through the North-East window of my dining room.
Home is the place where I nursed each of my three girls as newborns in the wee hours of the morning. Where I danced each of them to sleep against my chest as the lulling voices of The Wailin’ Jennys filled the living room.
Home is the place where we can all cram into our pea-green bathtub and wash each other’s hair with baby shampoo. It’s a place where the girls can stay in the tub, lingering in their world of make-believe and mermaids until the water is tepid and their toes are shriveled up like prunes.
Home is the place where I can run my fingers along the spines of the books on our bedroom shelves and without looking at titles, pull out my favourite, dog-eared Barbara Kingsolver novel and read the words underlined in pencil which I have read a hundred times before. Home is the place where I can pause at the beauty of these words and at the beauty of our daily life.
Home is the place where at the tail end of winter, we collect sap from our two puny maple trees and boil it down for hours and hours on the porch barbecue, only to get one mason jar of syrup. One jar that is so precious it almost seems like a miracle and we always agree that it’s the most delicious thing any of us has ever tasted.
In the spring, we hang a hammock between the same two maple trees and the girls take turns pushing each other back and forth and screaming just for the joy and thrill of it. Home is the place where each year, at the other end of the yard, we plant our garden from seed. We sweat and dig and pull weeds and are bathed in the sunlight while we pray for rain. Our freckles emerge, our knuckles are scratched and our fingernails become caked with dirt. But we feel so alive and our little patch of dirt is alive with possibility.
Home is the place where we linger around the porch table on sweltering August evenings after a dinner mostly picked from our garden. The girls eat everything on their plates. Potatoes and beets and carrots taste so much better when little hands have dug them out of the dirt. Tomatoes with names like Purple Cherokee, Brandywine and Sungold are enjoyed on their own, plucked from the vine and eaten like an apple.
Home is a place where we can read aloud to one another at bedtime without feeling awkward or judged. Mike in his slow and steady way, his tone always peaceful and relaxing. Myself with expression and accents like my father read to me as a child. Amelia’s favourite bedtime story, a tattered copy ofThe Seven Silly Eaters is always within reach. After the children are asleep, home is the place where Mike and I cuddle up under our duvet with mugs of Raspberry Leaf tea and talk about our days and our dreams, so many of which are centered around this place we call home.
These photos of the Tetreault family were taken in their home. It was so cold the day of the session that we decided to move the session into their living room. This room really is the heart of their home. It’s at the centre of their house, and you have to walk through this room to get to any other room. It’s comfortable, warm and inviting. It’s always filled with music and bathed in light. It’s clean and tidy, with just the right amount of lived in. You might look under the couch and find a forgotten stuffed animal, a little sock or a few crayons. There are tiny pairs of shoes lined up on a bench by the front door and a few children’s books open on the floor. There is always a candle burning by the entryway and a mug of tea steeping on the coffee table. On the wall beside the piano is a plaque that reads, “Bless this house with love and laughter.” This quote is so fitting for this family session. These captured moments and this family’s home are truly blessed with an abundance of love and laughter…