Anthony Shadid wrote about the importance of home in House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and a Lost Middle East. In his posthumous memoir, published in late February, 2012, the Pulitzer-prize winning Shadid defines the Arabic word for house below in an excerpt from his book that appeared in the New York Times Magazine:
In Arabic, the word “bayt” translates literally as house, but its connotations resonate beyond rooms and walls, summoning longings gathered about family and home. In the Middle East, bayt is sacred. Empires fall. Nations topple. Borders may shift. Old loyalties may dissolve or, without warning, be altered. Home, whether it be structure or familiar ground, is finally the identity that does not fade.
He writes of the year he labored to restore his family’s abandoned family home in southern Lebanon. While his story is one that has infinitely more tragedy and drama than the (mostly) suburban stories of our homes, Shadid shines a light on the place that a family home has in our hearts.
Beginning tomorrow Grown and Flown will post stories of our homes, too, now that many of us are struggling to answer the question: “Do I stay or do I go?” Buying a home when our children are infants and, then selling or not, are bookend events in family life. What are your thoughts on the subject? Are you happy to plant the for-sale sign and escape the neighborhood that may have worked when your kids were in school but no longer fits? Or, have you begun to imagine which rooms will house your grown kids with their future spouses and your future grandchildren? Does it complicate things to know that 44% of our grown-up kids don’t want us to change a thing about their childhood homes?*
Please add to the conversation as we will post a different writer’s perspective daily.
*Based on the results from a poll that Grown and Flown recently conducted.