Bayit is Where the Heart is
As I write this I am staring at the rocky mountains that surround Salt Lake City. I am in the Delta Sky Club in the airport awaiting my flight to Kalispell and my daughter's house. I left my mostly empty house today for the penultimate time and it has me thinking about the meaning of bayit. I have loved living in my house for the past five and half years. It is a wonderful house full of rooms and space and even a secret passageway! It has two sets of stairs, two sinks in the master bathroom, and two spaces for our cars in the garage. I like the number two. My husband and I make the number two. I have two dogs and two cats, two coffee makers, and two suitcases. I have one child but she is now part of a pair so I say I have two kids when I talk about them because I have gained a son.
It is unsettling leaving your home and seeing your home empty and all of your stuff being packed into U-haul pods and carted away. When will I see that stuff again? I will be homeless for at least a month while my home sells and we wait to close on our new home. Fortunately, our daughter and her fiance have a great home that they are willing to share with the old parental units for a month. So we will not be truly homeless. Her home during this time will be filled with furry children--three dogs and five cats, plus four chickens in the backyard coop. I am excited to learn about caring for chickens. I like to joke that I have grandchickens! Their names are Ruth, Dolly, Gladys, and Cuckoo.
My new home will be beautiful too, if smaller. But smaller is a good thing. We didn't really need all that space just for two people, two dogs, and two cats. We have gone Marie Kondo crazy on all of our stuff. It is cathartic to purge and to realize that you really do not need so much stuff. What is important to you really comes to the surface when you are forced to choose what to take and what will be donated or sold or given away to friends. I have culled and culled my books but I still have so many! And I have been buying most of my fiction on Kindle and reserving paper purchases for the Talmud that I am slowly but surely collecting and other Jewish books, education books, some non-fiction, etc.
There are a few key ingredients, IMHO, that make up a bayit and, for the most part, the physical space isn't on this list.
- dein mishpocha
- books, books, books
- a few comfortable chairs (for reading, of course!)
- fabric and yarn, a sewing machine, crochet hooks and knitting needles
- whatever your zen requires (see above)
- a kitchen with a good size table to gather the aforementioned mishpocha around