My sisters and my mother showcasing a new recipe book they are thrilled to use.
- Home will form where you celebrate and suffer in the presence of your loved ones.
- You will be able to realise your home when you look for it around you.
- If you find yourself feeling as if those around you are at home, chances are you are too.
The essence of what turns any location into a home, no matter how big or small, is the heart that is poured into it that brings it to life. A home does not need to be showcased as if it were a show, the moments that one spends with one’s family within the walls that surround them, the memories formed, and the pain suffered in the company of those who love you the most would genuinely define a home.
The notion that the time spent forms a home rings true to me entirely as I had been consistently around family at home through every major life event. They had been there to witness the extreme highs and the terrible lows. They would have witnessed the best and worst of me as they had stayed unwavering at any and all junctions.
No matter how difficult the challenges that were presenting themselves became, my mother had been by my side, encouraging me to push myself further than I had ever gone before. Reminding me that no matter what, I had the ability and the determination to push through to become a better version of myself if I had tried harder that day than the one that had passed.
My mother’s faith in me though consistent, was consistently challenged through the years. When I was around 15 years old, her at-home cooking business centred around traditional Maldivian snacks started to take off. Each baked good took hours to complete and with each person ordering a delivery of over 200 units, her efforts and energy were spread thin. She was unable to take care of her business and be present with her four children.
She would spend hours on end trying her best to complete such large orders in time for the delivery hour and ensure the quality of her product and the reliability of her business stayed consistent. This meant ignoring the family while she adhered to her responsibilities. With the pressure of the business piling on and with my father being away on business, she had started to feel the weight of the world on her shoulders.
Whipping up home-cooked love in every dish. Photo source: News Gallup
Every day a new order would be received through the Facebook page she had set up, and she would rush to get all the ingredients needed to make the order. There were no rest days for her as she believed she should be able to make any order on any day to be the chef that the community turns to when they need someone to cater to their events, regardless of how last minute the request may be.
On a particularly hectic day as she came close to the competition of the order of the day, she tripped while holding the tray of the deliveries, sending the pieces of Maldivian baked goods flying across the floor. Her heart had sunk. She was utterly devastated and began sobbing as she was left in utter distress.
She had cried out with tears in her eyes, “What am I going to do? I won’t be able to make all this again in time!”
My siblings and I rushed to see the commotion that had just taken place, only to find our mother in disarray. We quickly put aside all that we were doing to help our mother. We jumped into action in the kitchen to the best of our abilities and delegated the tasks most tailored to our skills.
My brother walked up to our mother while holding her favourite pan, showing that he was ready to start cooking and comforted her, “Don’t worry. You got us. You got all of us. Maybe we won’t be able to finish the order in time but let me handle the customer, okay? As long as you got us, you won’t have anything to worry about.”
By being there for our mother, we relieved stress from her shoulders and gave her a moment to rest and spend time with the whole family as her business now became a family business She took a moment to realise that we were ready to help finish the order and that she had truly nothing to worry about. With every struggle she thought she might have had to face alone through her business, she now realised she had her whole family to lean on. No aspect of this had to be gone through alone, and she had felt the love that her entire family had to offer.
In that moment, she felt at ease, she felt at peace, she felt at home.
She knew that no matter what, when she was at home, she would have a support system at her disposal.
In the exact same rhythm and beat, I knew I was home as well. I looked around at my family covered in flour, butter, and batter, with smiles beaming on each of their faces from ear to ear. No matter the manual labour they had volunteered to do, they all had done it with glee, as this meant we could help one another while spending time with each other. We may get on one another’s nerves, but this is what truly makes a family, the look shared between one another before a laugh breaks out. A laugh so pure and sincere, undoubtedly emanating from the depths of their souls.
I glance around and I find myself truly at home in that moment. I know that my heart beats with joy as I am assured that no matter what I choose to do, or what I may accomplish or face, I will have a place of solace at home.
The family spending time together after the in-laws came to visit my mother.
That moment in the kitchen wasn’t the sole defining factor of what made the house a home for any of us. Instead, it was the certainty that our family was always prepared to come together and support our mother in her time of need, free from any harboured ill will. It made it abundantly clear to all of us that we’re here for one another when the going gets tough.
We pour our efforts, our attention and our love into one another in the confinements of the walls that make our home, making the memories that we will carry for the rest of our lifetime. We find a place that shares our stories and our pains, a place that becomes a part of the family and where we have the moments that we hold dearest to our hearts with our families. Fundamentally, is that not what makes a home truly a home?
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