Creating Your Own Happy Place

Alecia Kennedy
4 min readMay 29, 2022

No one else is going to do it

Author’s front porch — one of her many happy places

When I was a child, I spent much of my time at my grandmother’s house. Her house was everything that my parents’ ranch style house was not. Her house had not one, but two fireplaces, while my house had none. She had an upstairs where my sister and I could play undisturbed and she had a big front porch with two porch swings!

I loved sitting on the front porch and swinging. It was so peaceful and soothing. You could sit there on a summer morning and listen to the birds sing or sit there and watch a Sunday afternoon croquet match when the entire family got together. While I never articulated what the front porch meant to me as a child, the nostalgia for that sublime peace stayed with me.

I moved out on my own when I was eighteen and straight into an abusive marriage. When I finally got the guts to leave that relationship, I spent my twenties moving from rental to rental as I tried to figure out what I wanted and who I was. For nearly ten years, I moved my cat, my bird, and my very limited pieces of furniture whenever my lease expired. I knew I wanted to settle down one day but the thought of buying a house on my own seemed completely overwhelming.

When I met my second husband at the age of 31, he was adamant that when we married, we should give up renting and buy a house. I went along with the plan and because it seemed so much more important to him, I let him do most of the work finding our first home. He found us a great three-bedroom two- bath ranch style home that was affordable and under-priced. We snapped it up and only weeks later I discovered I was pregnant with my oldest daughter.

With impending motherhood on my mind, the house immediately took on more significance that I could have predicted. This house immediately became home and all the ideas ingrained in me from my childhood took root. My parents still live in the house where I grew up, so to me home means stability. It means staying put and creating memories in a single place. Suddenly our starter home became the only home I planned on living in — at least until my daughter was grown. I wanted her to have that same sense of home that I had taken for granted.

Which brings to the only thing I didn’t care for about the house — it had no front porch to speak…

Alecia Kennedy