The Phoenix

It’s what’s inside that makes a house a home

- By Terry Alburger

If you have seen the newest hit Disney movie, “Encanto,” or if you are Latino, you are likely familiar with the word casita.

Being part of both groups, I have embraced it as more than just a word. The literal translatio­n is little house, but it is more than that. It is home. And those two terms are definitely not synonymous.

Twenty-five years ago, my then-fiance and I were house hunting. Both being “second-time-arounders,” we were a mini Brady Bunch. We had four children between us, all school-age. Anticipati­ng a long house hunt, we began nine months prior to our wedding. Little did we know our hunt would begin and end on the same day.

When we walked into the house, it immediatel­y became home. It was the perfect size for our growing family, had potential for expansion in its unfinished basement and had a charm that spoke to our hearts … “un encanto.” (charm)

A quarter of a century later, now as empty nesters, with the addition of some rooms and of some thoughtful gardens, it is still our precious casita. The roses bushes, blueberry trees, strawberry plants, perennials and fig trees, which had been cultivated many years ago by my father in his beautiful yard where I spent many happy years, warms my heart every time I look at them. It is for sure, my encanto.

This house has seen many a joy and many a sadness, many triumphs and yes, even some failures. It has seen our family grow, with the addition of grandchild­ren and extended members. When I hear the phrase “my home is my castle,” it hits the nail right on the head. No matter where I am, whether I’ve been gone two weeks or two hours, the feeling of pulling into this driveway is second to none.

During the times of COVID, this casita served as our refuge from danger and kept us safe and sane. If I had to be sequestere­d somewhere, I’m glad it was here, in a space of comfort, a place where the walls served to protect and nurture rather than imprison or cage.

Casitas can come in all shapes and sizes, from a tiny apartment to a huge mansion. It is not the exterior that makes a house a home. It’s what’s inside you when you are inside it.

I hope that wherever you are, it is a casita. An “encanto.” A lot can be learned from our animated friends in that movie. It’s about family, it’s about love, and it’s about supporting each other. The house is just the shell that surrounds the love of those who dwell inside. And the love makes it a home.

So next time you are sitting comfortabl­y in your favorite room, close your eyes and feel the comfort and the security of being home. They often say, “if these walls could talk…” My hope is that the walls in my home would speak of the many happy memories, the great times, the family gatherings, the grandchild­ren and the puppies.

They would tell about the love that lives within. They would tell the story of my casita for years to come. Someday, when we retire and move away, I can only hope that the strong feeling of love will linger and will be felt by a new family, ready to begin their journey in that special casita.

 ?? PIXABAY ??

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