Last weekend I went to see Mr D’s soon-to-be off campus housing. The best I can say is it’s safe and sort of clean. Decor wise, think ’70s basement rec-room: drop ceilings, vinyl floors and lots of wood paneling. It’s pretty much perfect for a bunch of 20 year old boys.
A new home is an exciting adventure. This will be Mr D’s third residence and I’m sure it’s not going to be his last. I started counting and realized that I’ve lived in seven different places so far. Some I liked better than others, but they each served their purpose and for better or worse they were the settings for all the life events that made me…me.
House number one was the home of my childhood; 1950s rancher; 6 people-1 bathroom; red carpet in the living room; paneling everywhere (dad hated to paint). This was the home of Barbie dolls and sleepovers and getting caught necking on the sofa with my first boyfriend when I thought mom was fast asleep.
House number two was the home where I first set up housekeeping; 22 years old; newly married (the rehearsal husband); one bedroom ground floor apartment ten minutes from mom and dad’s; brand new blue striped sofa and love seat; new towels, new sheets, new everything; learning to do laundry and shop for groceries. This was the home I shared with my first cat (sweet Maggie); cooked my first meal (breaded pork chops and scalloped potatoes), and decorated my first, very own Christmas tree.
House number three meant a mortgage and grown up responsibility; pretty yellow cape cod two blocks from my sister’s house; weird paneling in the master bedroom featuring deer filled wooded scenes; above ground pool; cricket infestation in the basement (Maggie liked to catch them and bring them upstairs!) This was the home where I learned how to stencil and wallpaper, where I fed my maternal instinct by caring for my infant nephew and where I became a divorcee at 26.
House number four represented my independence, reconfigured second floor apartment in an older house; noisey downstairs neighbors; green paneling and sloping floors in the kitchen; big and plentiful windows, perfect for Maggie to perch. Here was a home that was truly my own, paid for and cared for by me alone. Here was where I lived the life of a single woman, late nights, dates; lugging my laundry to my parents every Tuesday night and coming home with a bag of leftovers. Here is where I was living when I met my forever guy.
House number five, the home for new beginnings, top floor end apartment, red brick building in a complex with an in-ground pool; sharing a home with the man of my dreams; “shacking -up” as my mom put it; olive green appliances in the kitchen; stackable washer and dryer in the bathroom; moved in in June; engaged by December. This was the home where I was living when I lost my dad, the home where I turned 30, the home where I planned a wedding and, once again, became a wife.
House number six, two story townhouse; another mortgage; three months pregnant at closing; fenced in yard with a luscious thick lawn and morning glories growing in the back; hosting Thanksgiving dinners and Mom’s surprise 70th birthday party (we flew my brother in from Oklahoma to surprise her even more). This was the home where we said a sad goodbye to sweet Maggie and welcomed Jack and Chrissy into our family. It was also where I welcomed my babies, where I became “mom” and embarked on the biggest adventure of all.
Finally, House number seven, the worst house in the best neighborhood, 25 years old custom built, original and unique; loved by its first owners; trashed by its second; months of tearing out carpets and flooring; adding walls and my beloved porch; sanding, scraping, planting, painting, making it our own. This is the home where we have raised our children, where I returned to the work force and where I said goodbye my wonderful mom. This is the home where I’ve come into middle age and settled into my life.
Is this my dream house? Not even close. My dream house would be at least a hundred years old and would have a wrap around porch with a swing. It would have pocket doors, crown molding and a fireplace or two. Someday, maybe, I’ll live in a house like that but for now, even if this isn’t my dream house, it is definitely my dream home because it’s where the people I love are and after all, that’s what make a house a home.