My husband and I often talk about the kind of home that we want our house to be. Not only for our child, but for everyone who we open our doors to. We both grew up in homes that were always full of livelihood, whether that be through summer cookouts or family sleepovers. The homes that we grew up in were always spewing hospitality—and thus, our home will do the same.

Love is the foundation of our home—and of our happy, joy-filled family. It is what allows us to nurture a community that pours into us and allows us to pour back into them. When we think about what we want our home to resemble as we build traditions—and what we want our child to always know true— it’s these 5 things:

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1. That it’s a home built on love, full of love.

First and foremost, we want the love in our home to be evident. When the outside world is heavy and ruthless and brimmed with unease, the love that exists within our walls remains a place of refuge. A place where we can still believe in the goodness that life has to offer.

My husband and I have always kept love at the forefront, and it is the foundation on which we stand and cling to. When the storms of life come—and surely they will—our child will have the security and reassurance of an unconditional, unfleeting love. And our biggest hope is that his heart will become so full of this love that he takes it out into the world and passes it on.

2. That it’s a home where those who are invited in feel welcome.

Growing up, I always adored how my friends found my parents easy to talk to. It warmed my heart how much they raved about spending time with my family to the point of feeling like a part of our family themselves. I realized how important it was to create an inclusive atmosphere within our walls because we never know what people are going through beyond our doors, within their own homes.  

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I can’t even begin to remember the number of times that my parent’s house acted as a haven for our friends and for our extended family. When people were in a time of need or just wanted a place to become undone, our home was that space. And now, with a home of my own, I want to carry on the tradition of selfless hospitality that looks for nothing in return. Because we never truly know how much others need to experience a compassionate act of kindness.

Because we will love and fend for anyone as though they’re our own.

My husband and I want our family to be open to all of our child’s friends. We want everyone to feel seen, validated, included and engaged. We want our house to be the one that everyone is excited to come to and we want to be the type of parents that other parents don’t have to worry about their kids being around. Because we will love and fend for anyone as though they’re our own, and we are teaching our child to do the same. To look beyond the societal implications of “otherness” and accept people as they are, for who they are. 

3. That it’s a home of connection, community and constant celebration.

We want to be a family that is full of traditions; like summer cookouts, holiday gatherings and movie or game nights. We want our house to always be bubbling over with laughter and conversation. Because we understand that community is important and helps us to carry the load of parenting while also helping to shape our child and every child that comes through our doors.

We also want to celebrate the small wins and affirm our child in every victory—and comfort him through every loss. We believe in building a strong-spirited child that is equipped to take on the world before him.

4. That it’s a home away from home.

When our doors are open and we welcome people in, we want them to be submerged in nostalgia and homeliness. We don’t want them to worry about keeping up a certain act or behaving a particular way. We want them to be comfortable enough to kick off their shoes and settle in—even fall asleep on the living room couch if they may.

We want our house to feel like a home to everyone who walks through our doors so that they, too, can witness the magic and the power of love.

5. That it’s a home that is always open.

One day, our baby won’t be a baby anymore. He’ll fly the nest and leave us behind in order to start his own journey of life. But no matter how far or even where he goes, we want him to know that the doors of our home are always open to him. That our house is a place where he can reset and recharge and leave even fuller than what he came in.

Because these are the walls that shaped him. And they will continue to shape him as he travels through the years. Because this is his foundation and the blueprint of his existence. And one day, he will take all that he has learned within these four walls and charge the world. And our hope is that he, too, builds a home full of joy, compassion, hospitality and love—so much love.