I smiled as I dreamed of the future. I talked to God.
“This is our house. I know it’s only the fifth or sixth house we’ve looked at but it feels like home. If You can just see fit to put us in this house, all will be right in my world.”
I dreamed of children running on the lawn. Dinners served at the dining room table. Lullabies sung in the nursery.
It was picture perfect, in my mind.
In reality, we would find a leak in the gas line leading to the stove, poor plumbing, an ancient gravity-air furnace, wallpaper in just about every available square inch of wall space.
This house was a labor of love for my ex and me.
But, the children did run on the lawn. Many dinners have been served in my dining room. And countless lullabies crooned in the wee hours of the morning, in a rocking chair in the nursery.
It was, at times, Rockwellian. At others, anything but that.
But my instinct was correct. This was the house for us. It still feels like home.
What I did not see at that time was what any young newlywed doesn’t see—life coming at you like a freight train.
I did not foresee margaritas on my hallway floor as we scraped wallpaper off for what seemed like the 100th day. I did not see a tiny clone of the larger man scraping that wallpaper standing next to him a few years later, trying to hammer nails like Daddy and nearly bludgeoning his thumb off.
I was blind to two sleep-deprived parents taking turns walking a colicky, inconsolable baby around the house for hours in the middle of the night, tears streaming down their faces because nothing they did seemed to help. And they just. Needed. Sleep.
I certainly did not see a basement flooding during construction of an addition because the construction crew left us without backfill for days on end. My sleeping on a soggy air mattress in the basement, pregnant and with food poisoning, wondering when I’d be well enough for us to go to a hotel.
I may have envisioned hot chocolate after sledding, bedtime stories in a rocker and pics on the front porch in full Halloween regalia but I could not have anticipated the joy, sorrow, worry and pride that would come with each season.
I am somewhat glad I did not foresee a couple yelling at each other over money, life, difficult children.
Had I foreseen a divorce and the accompanying financial struggles, death and grief, the arduous and painful rebuilding of a life for two minus one, I certainly would have walked out the front door of this tiny little house with nary a backward look.
This home has housed so much of us, my family, over the past decade. And life would have come at us like a freight train anywhere. It’s why we humans should not have the ability to foresee the future. It might paralyze us into never taking that first step.
Perhaps getting this house did not immediately make all right in our world. But it certainly provided a loving haven. At times, a barrier against a world that moves too fast and metes out fates too harshly.
Sometimes I catch my little one on the couch, in the very same location I sat 15 years ago, staring out that same window (well, almost-he looks out of the upgraded, thermal variety of that same window).
He is usually pondering something he has just read in a book. And this is one of the many safe, cozy, quiet places he finds to ponder in this nook-and-cranny abode.
That is when I think buying this house did—in a roundabout way—make all right in our world. All that is right in my world at this second is sitting on that sofa. And to him, this is home with a capital H.
I think I will bring him hot chocolate and gaze out that window with him.
The view from my small sofa has changed. But this house, which encases our history, our worries, our cares, our joys, our sorrows, our hopes, is still our home. The view can change all it wants. The capital H bit will not.
I can still look out that window, dreaming and praying.
This time, a bit more world weary.
But also a bit more worldly wise.