I love our house. God blessed us with a home that has met needs we didn’t even know we were going to have when we moved in. It has been flexible enough to allow my husband to work from home, and still had space enough to welcome our third child. Somehow its four walls managed to expand and allow two foster children to move in, and now it’s relaxed back down to contain a more comfortable three-kids-and-two-dogs family. But I admit to stalking houses not even a mile south of us.
Mere blocks away there are houses that back up onto a forested creek. I’ve said, repeatedly, “I love our house….if I could only pick it up and set it down in the middle of the woods!” (Which is, frankly, ridiculous. Part of the appeal of this house when we bought it was the yard full of mature trees.)
But if you drive home “the back way” there are rows of homes surrounded by trees, with no real backyard neighbors but the creek. A range of homes, too: yes, there are a few cul-de-sacs of high-end pricey ones we could never afford, but there are also some really reasonable ones that we could. If, by chance, we ever decided to move again. And yes, I was frequently stalking those houses, thinking about moving. (Because now that things have settled down, let’s stir things up, right?)
It turned out that our Sunday School class’s annual Super Bowl party was in one of those houses. This couple was newer to our class, and when the address was sent out I almost burst out laughing: we’re practically neighbors! (Truly: my husband and son walked home that night.) I was going to get a little taste of what it might be like to live in one of Those Houses. I wondered if I’d end up envious. Or maybe if I’d end up with a lead on a potential home for sale?
Instead, I ended up with a near panic-attack. A truly beautiful home, with a small, scenic backyard…that dropped off sharply into the creek. My evening was mostly spent keeping tabs on the three-year-old: Where’s the baby?* Is she back outside? I need to go check. Wait. No. She’s here. Where is she now? I think she’s downstairs. Maybe I need to check? There she is. Etc.
For three hours.
I joked with my husband later how glad I was that we had that experience. I could just see us, led on by my glorious rustic imaginings of barefoot big kids playing in the woods and wading in the creek, moving into one of those homes, and then immediately being hit by the reality of a three-year-old who doesn’t swim. Oh, my word….what have we done?
I hereby choose to shift my focus onto gratefulness: for a home that I love, for a (relatively) large yard the kids and dogs enjoy, and for the fact that when my youngest wanders out back unattended I don’t think twice.
*Yes, we still refer to her as “the baby.” I think it has to do with the age difference in the kids: we have “the bigs” and we have “the baby.” Please bear with me…surely at some point we’ll decide on a new nickname.