We were skiing Up North for a few days for the long holiday and just arrived back home this afternoon. It made me think about how we humans are herd animals. Let me explain.
After unloading the car and stowing some gear, everyone went off to do their own thing. My wife and one child are streaming shows on the iPad. Another child is goofing around with a ukulele. I’m not sure what the others are doing.
As for me, I went to the grocery store and am about to put dinner in the oven. When there’s time after a trip away, cooking for the family is something I like to do. Eating out during vacation is fun, but, frankly, there’s nothing like a home-cooked meal upon returning.
So, tonight, we’re having a roast chicken with roast potatoes and vegetables. The children will have their sparkling cider in wine glasses, which is something we do every Sunday night and missed this weekend, as we were away.
As we get back into our usual routines, it really is nice to be back. There’s something very familiar about coming home, in terms of how the house smells and looks. I suspect my brain senses all this, and it relaxes. I’m home.
All this made me think about how we are herd-oriented mammals. We greet each other with touch (handshakes or hugs) and can quickly sense other people’s body language and moods. We move in packs. Hierarchies are established. Cultural norms drive behavior and what’s acceptable and not acceptable.
And, when we come back home, we feel at ease. We feel safe and protected. All is well (usually).
If we didn’t grow up in homes like that, if there was dysfunction, we still feel the instinct to create that home. It’s a very powerful urge. Creating a “true” home drives all of us.
So, as I cook dinner for the family, I hope my children will feel at peace. They’re in familiar surroundings and at a place where they are safe and can be themselves. They’re about to eat a familiar dinner. They’ll get cinnamon rolls in the morning. Here, at our house, they know that they are very much loved.