There is too much to say about this song. On the surface it is almost a real estate listing. It is a simple concrete description of my house and home. I wrote it as a souvenir for my children as they leave for college and career. It is a reminder of who they are, where they come from, that there is something worth sacrificing for and preserving, that somewhere they are they are known well and loved deeply. It is this awareness that will strengthen them in the difficulty they will find ahead. Family is everything. 

Family life is the pleasure and reward of everything my husband and I have built over the past 25 years. Not only do I love my kids, I really like them, too. The model for parenting these days seems to be based on managing kids from one activity to another- keeping them out of your hair. There are few family dinners, rarely a conversation about what really matters, no silence for thinking and reflecting, and little openness to each other. Families are small, people are busy, electronic escape is the name of the game. No one is home. This is a deep and serious tragedy.

Our house might look extreme. There is no TV except for the old one in the basement, which is not connected to cable. We have no electronic or video games, the kids don’t use iPods in the house and the only cell phones are for kids who drive, in case of emergency. What is there left to do without all of the modern electronic distraction? We eat dinner together almost every night, and everyone is expected to be there. We talk about everything at the table, tell the stories of the day and really try to think critically about what is going on around us. There has been plenty of difficulty, particularly as kids get older. We face it together. We play music together, read books, build boy stuff in the yard, go to the country, force the kids to help do stupefying landscaping and home improvement projects, cook together, do the dishes together, watch movies, tease each other, wrestle around, and at the end of the day pray together every night. We put some personality into it! It turns out that after doing that for 18 years, kids really do like to come back home. They like to bring their friends, too. Come and see what we have here!

I wish that I could convey to the modern family what they are missing. I wish I could tell other mothers that the work of their life is building these sacred relationships with their husband and kids. Have a house full! Trust your husband to provide and be satisfied with what he brings home. He just might rise to the occasion. Look your children in the eyes and jump in. It teaches them to love, to trust to believe. This is the most important job you have. Go home and see to it. This house is the place to be.

This House is the Place To Be

V1
Just past town, out Highway seventy
Is a split level brick under two elm trees
It’s the one on the left at the dead end street
This house is the place to be

V2
It’s easy to find, there’s a big front stoop
A tree house fort and a basketball hoop
There’s plenty of noise but I’ll guarantee
This house is the place to be

Bridge 1
It’s pancakes in the mornings and smoothie afternoons
One piano three guitars, harmony and blues
There are gardens and a doghouse, two hammocks and a swing
A weight bench and a tool shed where Daddy fixes things
This house is the place to be

V3
Chances are that I’ll be there
With a song in my head and the kids in my hair
There’s no doubt in my mind and it’s easy to see
This house is the place to be

Bridge 2
‘Cause it’s songs on Summer evenings, homework in the Fall
Fires in the Winter, most times a free for all
And dinners can get crazy when everybody’s home
But this place is never boring and you’ll never be alone
This house is the place to be

V4
When you’re off at work, or fighting overseas
Don’t ever forget to remember me
On the glider, on the front stoop with my tension tamer tea
This house is the place to be
This house is the place, this house is the place
This house is the place to be

  May 02, 2012

2 comments

What a beautiful description of what home and family can be. I still remember meeting you in St. Louis when “What I Wanted to Say” was in demo form and Cecilia was still being formed inside you! I still only have a tape deck in my little Corolla, so I can listen to What I Wanted to Say on my trips from Pennsylvania to DC. Let’s pray for each other during this year devoted to the family.

Yes! We met just as I was beginning to write songs! I remember it well. Send an email with your address and I will send you more of my music! I am at marie@mariebellet.com. God bless you and your work!

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