Like most women, I wear a million hats every day. I am still my mother’s daughter, a granddaughter, wife of almost 18 years, mother to two plus an exchange student, friend, decorator, consultant, coach, and writer. With each of those roles, especially motherhood, comes an entire sub-group of roles that switch in an instant. I am the house cleaner, accountant, pet-sitter, nurse, taxi driver, personal assistant, and chief trouble-shooter for my family. I am also the laundress, personal shopper, and keeper of the master schedule. Most days, I try to work, exercise, and write in the midst of that.
Until a few months ago, I also was working a full time plus job that required me to travel throughout the state of Michigan on a very regular basis. When I started the job, I was responsible for the Western Region of the state, which required travel from the three county area I live in covering about a two hour radius. About the time my employer re-worked out internal system, moving us to cover specialty topics state-wide , my husband became very involved in intense behavioral and physical health care policy work that required him to travel fairly extensively as well.
Suddenly, there was no one at home to focus on our two children that we had worked very hard to adopt. We were managing, but barely.
People talk about pivotal moments, and I often wondered if I would recognize one in my own life. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, those are the moments where you choose one path over another and it changes the course of your life. You don’t often recognize them until much later, but there are rare times when you know in that moment that whatever decision you make right then is going to have a long lasting impact.
In July of last year, I had one of those moments. I had been on the road an average of two – three days a week for the preceding 3 1/2 months, and was just finishing a tour of Sanilac to Lansing to Detroit. I got in my car after an all day staff meeting, looked at my phone and realized that I had made my hotel reservation for the wrong night. I called the hotel, and they were booked as were all other hotels within a 30-mile drive from my morning appointment.
What was normally a minor annoyance – I knew that I could find a hotel, and would probably just have a longer drive in the morning – suddenly turned me into a bawling mess. I am not, by nature, a crier. I realized in that moment that I had cried at work exactly three times in my entire career, and two of them had been in the past two months.
I found a hotel that night, and comforted myself by shopping like all good women do. The second epiphany of that day came when I finally sat down with a cup of coffee and my purchases – two decorating books, a garden magazine, and a pretty vase that was sporting a pilfered flower from the planter in front of the store. Those items put my world right again.
That night began a process for me. I quit my job – though I still hold a part-time contract with my old employer – and began the journey of becoming who I was meant to be. That is how Hestia’s Hand was born.
She was not known to roam or have grand adventures like the other mythical Gods and Goddesses, but chose instead to keep a place for her family to return to and to gather. She is centered, grounded, and even tempered.
I think Hestia’s message to all of us is that our homes are a sacred place. They are where we nourish our bodies and nurture our children. Our friends gather hearthside, and are warmed by our hospitality. Our walls are the containers for joy and the insulators for reflection.
I am honored when I am asked to guide someone through the process of creating a gathering or private space within their home. It is so much more than a financial investment. It is a gift to be able to walk with them through the design process of expressing their own unique through great spaces that support their work and family.