Not terribly far from where we live there is a part of town that has the most beautiful old enormous homes I’ve seen. They surround a large lake and wreak of old money, new money, and all money in between. I’ve driven through this part of town for years and have always thought that maybe, just maybe, I’d one day own one of those gorgeous estates. Fabulous old homes, on fabulous lots, snuggled right next to the water. Sigh.
The other day the little girls and I were on our way to a date with my mom and we were running early. I decided to take a longer route, to waste some time, that would take us through the main drag of that part of town. The little girls had never been there so I pointed out the homes that have always been some of my favorites. “THAT is a HOUSE?!” they asked after I pointed out the first one. “Whoa! Look at THAT one!” “Oh my gosh look at THAT!” I told them that I’d always wanted to live out here. And then I said, more to myself than to them, “maybe I still will someday.”
My oldest little girl objected wildly. “I like OUR house! Plus, what would Sullivan do? His best friend lives next door. And our yard is really big. I LOVE our house.” It took strength not to laugh out loud. Here we were passing ginormous homes that look like they could be John Hughes‘ cinematic illustrations of wealth and my little girl is telling me she loves OUR house. OUR house??? Really? REALLY???
Look. I know we all agreed to say “screw the Joneses.” And there are plenty of things for which I’m thankful when it comes to this house. It is within spitting distance from the little girls’ school and church. We have a ridiculous sized yard. Our kitchen is big. The little girls each have their own room.
Sullivan has wreaked havoc on our carpet. Carpet under which, by the way, the previous owners opted not to put padding. It is dirty, and stained, and not even worth trying to clean anymore. It will be replaced. Someday.
Our bathroom is falling apart. We had plans to remodel it in February but we’ve had to postpone. The floor is linoleum that will not get clean no matter how hard I try. The plumbing is questionable. The walls need to be replaced. And the shimmery white, pink, and blue wallpaper mocks me every time I walk in. This all too will be replaced. Someday.
The walls are beautifully painted but the wood trim around the windows and the baseboards are a horrible color and in horrible shape. I plan to replace the trim too. Someday.
So imagine looking at the house from Home Alone, or any of the big houses from Pretty In Pink, and having your little girl say “no thank you, I’d prefer to stay where we are.” Hmmph. At the time I was thinking ‘yeah, if I won the lottery I’d be out of this house so fast our heads would spin!’
Over the past couple days, however, I’ve been doing some thinking. I’ve written a lot about my need to provide stability and structure for the little girls. There are times I’m hell bent on having the girls do something that even my husband will question. Do we HAVE to have them read and do math every day? Do we HAVE to have fruit at every meal? Every day this weekend the little girls have ASKED if they will do math and reading. Not in an “aww man! Do we have to do this AGAIN?!” kind of way but more like a test to see if it will be the same as yesterday, or last Tuesday, or last weekend. They ask about their fruit, and if they will shower on the day we normally have them shower, and if they will do chores, etc.
They have spent this entire weekend playing in their bedrooms, playing in our front yard, playing in the driveway, playing on our tire swing…and all I’ve heard (aside from the Demi Lovato song they’re singing incessantly right now) is giggling, and make-believe scenarios, and chatter, and two little girls having nothing but fun. They are relaxed, happy, and even when we take the time to make them sit down and do school related work or do their chores, they are eager to do it and so excited when they get it done correctly.
So while I dream of living in a lovely home I take comfort in the fact that this is EXACTLY where my little girls feel at home and at peace. And no matter what my carpet looks like, or how that damn wallpaper mocks me, that is good enough for me.
TODAY: What if our house is PERFECT just the way it is for the little girls? And what if while it’s not the house of MY dreams it’s where THEIR dreams will be born, will grow, and will take hold in their hearts and minds?