“The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
I live in a pretty traditional brick ranch house with a finished full basement. It is an older house with drafty windows and pipes that have been known to leak. The furnace and quite possibly the curtains in the living room have been here since the early 1960′s when the house was built. We have a sliding glass door instead of French doors and tiny closets. But this is the house my husband and I created in our minds years before we found it and this is where my heart is at peace.
When we moved to Asheville, NC, we started in a smaller house with a semi-shotgun floor plan. We dreamed up a house with a kitchen that looked out onto the fenced-in back yard. We talked of needing a basement and both a living room and a den. We wanted our two kids to have their own bedrooms and also a space for visitors to stay and feel comfortable. We wanted a dead-end, flat street for the kids to be able to play and room for a garden.
We followed many leads but could not find anything in our price range for years. We had pretty much given up when we got a random call from our old realtor. She had a house on a street I had actually driven down many times wishing for an opening. It was actually in our price range and we snapped it up that day. We have been here now for eight years.
Sometimes, though, I wish my house was bigger. I want to redo the kitchen - a vintage oven is much cooler sounding than it actually is when using it daily. I don’t think they had invented self-cleaning when this was produced! I want to add on to our bedroom so we could have “grown-up” closets. I would love to create a new front porch to replace our front stoop with the wobbly rail. Sometimes I wallow in what I wish would happen.
But this holiday season I had a moment of realization about my house. In the month of December, my house hosted a baby shower. We all fit snugly in the living room but it lent a sense of togetherness and informality to the gathering. A few weeks later, my house held 16 excited 13 year old girls for a holiday party. They first took over the living room for a service activity and then descended into the basement for pizza and squealing and girl bonding. The next day brought my parents and then my brother, his wife and their tween to stay for the holidays. This requires a mattress on the floor and the pull out sofa in addition to the guest bedroom.
One night as I went to sleep on the pull-out sofa, I had this very important realization. My house may not be big or fancy but over the past three weeks it has held so much joy and love. It has been a place to welcome all sorts of friends and family. People feel comfortable coming in and taking off their shoes and staying. What a wonderful gift!
So this house has been our home for eight years now. It has seen money and marriage ups and downs. It has seen parenting moments both brilliant and questionable. It has seen pets passed on and pets added to our brood. But mostly it has seen love and family and friendship. At the end of the day, I know this place is enough for me because it can hold my family and my friends and the memories we create.
I wish you happiness in your home with your family and your friends. Remember that shared memories are so much better for our happiness than anything you can buy. Though I really need to replace those orange curtains in the living room…..
~ The Mildly Manic Mom