Making a House a Home

I will be 34 next week and I have never owned a home.  I suppose this is much more common today than it was even one generation ago, and yet it still feels strange to me.  When I look back on the last 10 years, I realize why I don’t own a home (mainly because my husband was getting his PhD and then he was in a post-doc position – neither of which are permanent things), but it’s still hard to reconcile it in my own head.  I guess what they say is true, and it is beaten into our brains that the “American dream” is to go to college, get a good job, buy a house and raise a family.  Since we already have two children, and we had one of them before the “good job” came along, we’re doing everything out of order, it seems.

A week ago today, I went and looked at a house, and then on Friday morning I got word that the offer we had put in on said house had been accepted.  Funny how life can change from one Monday to the next, huh?  Of course the home-buying process is a loooooooooooong one, and so we still have a bunch of hoops to jump through before we will actually own the property, so I’m trying not to get overly excited.  However, I do long to live somewhere that my kids will think of as their home – a place where they’ll celebrate holidays and birthdays and have sleepovers.

My parents don’t live in my childhood home anymore, and it’s funny because I will never think of their current house as my home because it’s not where I grew up.  You don’t realize how much a certain house means to you until you grow up and move out of it.  When I was a teenager, I remember cursing our house because it never seemed big enough (even though my dad added on an entire room, and then converted half the garage into yet ANOTHER room!) and it wasn’t remotely close to where I went to school.  Also, it was a townhouse so it was attached to another house and I absolutely hated sharing a driveway and being so supremely close to another family.  I longed for a bigger house near the school, which, ironically, is what my parents ended up moving into after I left for college!  How’s that for ya?
But today, I realize all my memories are in the house I thought I hated so much.  It turns out that wherever you grow up – be it in a tiny cottage or a giant McMansion – that is what will always feel like “home” to you.
I know our daughters are going to love growing up in the house we’re in the process of buying.  It has a giant, gorgeous tree in the front yard, it’s on a cul de sac so they can ride their bikes and scooters with no traffic, and it backs up to the elementary school that they will attend.  I’m crossing my fingers and toes that everything goes smoothly and we end up completing this buying process because, frankly, I’m really doggone tired of moving and feeling “unsettled.”  I just want to have a house and make it our home.

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