Homebodies - Home free


By Rita Friesen

There are multiple ways to play the old favourite game, Hide and Seek. Sardines is not one of the ones I enjoy, and for those wondering what that is, it involves cramming and jamming many people into very cramped spaces.

The tag version is okay, but my choice is always with a “home free” base. Early this summer, I was able to introduce another generation to this old style game. The old “run like heck” to reach the home base before being caught.

During the course of time shared with my friend/sister, we discussed the concept of a “home free” space. I was encouraged to view the idea using a wider lens, our world. We all need a place where we feel safe, secure. During my formative years it was frequently the school that was safe space.  That speaks highly of the staff entrusted with my education. To my memory, I was neither bullied or a bully. One teacher in particular offered unconditional support and encouragement during my time of adjusting to a new school, to wearing braces and lisping. I will never forget the morning I was excused from singing class – the instructor demanded better enunciation (you try that with a mouth full of metal!) and Mrs. Gray quietly guided me back to the classroom for reading time.

 The home across the road, filled to overflowing with their own family, always welcomed me and included me in any activity in progress. A safe busy, active, noisy place. 

Aunt Tillie and Uncle Pete were also a ‘home free’. A home full of boy cousins was always fun but my aunt taught me to bake buns and take pride in domestic chores. She never voiced complaint at the outdoor facilities when all her siblings had progressed to indoor bathroom. Safe, encouraging and a learning environment.

My friend pointed out that my partner and I had provided just such a space for others. Perhaps not all our children would agree with that, but that is a part of being a family. The outpouring of support offered to me in this last month testifies to the truth of the statement. Our first “extra child” and the last one, not only came to spend time with us, but set aside work obligations to join in the final farewell to the patriarch of the Friesen clan. Our children’s friends, and our grandchildren’s friends also set aside time to join us.

 How wonderful to have a “home free” space. What a gift to be offered such a place, and what a privilege to offer it to others. The wonder is that neither the giving or the receiving  has never been a conscious effort, just a part of a daily living creed. And it is in each of us to give.