Home is where the HEART is!

Guest Post by Emer O’Hara

There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home!

These famous words from Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz have never rung so true in these unprecedented times we find ourselves in. Home is a haven, home is our safe place, home is where the heart is. But what happens when this safe space, this safe haven is all your non-verbal wonder understands. This is the home we have tried our very best to create for our 7, almost 8, year-old beautiful boy. 

His space in our busy family home of 7! (plus not forgetting our new puppy, Griffin). Home is chaotic, full of life, full of madness, full of jest, full of happiness and, sometimes, full of fear. Fear to think what might happen if we forget to lock all the doors and windows, ensure the back gate and front gate is securely closed, car keys are hidden and someone we trust (if not us) is constantly watching over our very own Buzz Lightyear! His safety is our first concern 24/7. This may sound restrictive, may sound overwhelming or controlled but yet it is our safe haven, a world which we have created as a large family, a home where we feel happy, a home where we can be free.  We have even moved 11,384 KM from one home in Singapore to another home here in Ireland but the essence of “our” home structure despite being in a different continent is still the same.  

This is a time in history where we hope all families can find their freedom, their `’tribe”, their happiness within their family homes. No-one could have imagined how this virus would change our existence, would change our everyday. We felt that way when our son was diagnosed with Autism, how would our days be spent, how would we protect our family, would we be able to do enough to keep him safe? The answer is yes, the human spirit, the human core, our basic instinct is to protect the ones we love whatever it takes. Having a child with different needs helped us clarify and remember this fact. 
Perhaps for some, COVID-19 may have awakened that clarity.

No judgement, no pleas for change, no words of wisdom only an understanding we can’t do things on our own. Life constantly shows us that. Change is inevitable, change is refreshing, change is evolving and most importantly we too must change to survive. There is no escape from this; we are thankful for the frontline staff who work tirelessly to keep us safe but they can not do this alone. Stay home, build your kingdom within your walls, feel it with love, music, laughter, poetry, dance, planting vegetables and Art. Let change be a word that inspires you rather than fear taking its hold!

Painting of Samson (his sister Hope found joy in ART during the lockdown and this is her version of her baby brother)

In my early days as Mama (17 years and counting these days), I filled my home with busyness, I ruled the roost with endless lists of things to do, that was a happy home I thought.  How this has changed; now home is where everyone living in it is able to feel safe and creates their own haven. For our two teens, it is chatting with their friends from around the world on SKYPE, for our eleven-year-old daughter, it is drawing, baking and watching her favourite Youtube videos, playing Minecraft and Homeschool in Heel’s day!! 

I must admit this Mama enjoyed that day too!!


For BuzzLightyear, our non-verbal wonder, it is digging up our garden (actually that would have upset me in the past but now well our new garden does need to be dug and re-levelled by someone) and walks by the beach or in the forest (all within our 5 km boundary that is). 

Max & Samson (he ain’t heavy he’s my BROTHER!!)

For us parents we are enjoying sitting in the garden, reading, wishing for red skies at night (soon to return we hope). Its been a long winter! We are trying our best to keep the calm within our walls yet aware Mother Earth is aching.

Red Skies

From the O’Hara Safe Haven to yours we conclude with this quote (and a lovely photo memory my Brother in Law snapped the last time he visited us from the UK). Oh, how we wish we could see family overseas again soon 😦

“Many people spend too much time trying to be the captain of someone’s else’s boat. Learn to be a lighthouse and the boats will find their way”. 


Acknowledgements for images: Robert James O’Hara (LightHouse)

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