Through the looking glass…
Due to a variety of factors, I use our laundry room to get ready for work in the mornings. The short explanation is that we are using an unconventional space utilization to make our house live bigger than it actually is. We’re in the awkward place of having a house that is “big enough” if we just look at square footage, but too small when we look at how the rooms are laid out. I really don’t want to move, but I’m resigned to the fact that we probably will be doing so within the next few years.
As I was thinking about this earlier tonight, I was remembering my great-grandmother’s house. I will be honest, I could not navigate back to the house now if I had to – I have the memory of riding there with my grandmother on Friday mornings after doing her grocery shopping for her. I would go with my grandmother when I wasn’t in school, checking off her list from two different grocery stores and the bakery. Great-grandmother had a tiny little brick house in the city: a front living room, kitchen, bathroom, and two bedrooms on an urban lot. No garage, just one of those metal-roofed carports. I don’t remember a basement – it’s possible, but they are not common in the area where I grew up. I think about that house, knowing that she lived in it for 40 years, that she raised a family there, and I wonder how she did it. How was it that a small, two-bedroom house was big enough for them, and we feel cramped in a house three times that size?
And I wonder too, maybe it wasn’t big enough for them, maybe she wished that she had another room for the kids to play in and an extra bathroom.
But it makes me think about how we live, about what we could change, about what we would be willing to change. I really do not want the stress of a larger house payment, and we don’t want to move out of this school zone, and I really. really. hate. moving. We’ve talked about the possibility of remodeling, but the numbers just are not cost effective. So it’s either figure out a way to make the space work where we are, or bite the bullet and deal with the complications of getting a larger, or at least more well laid out, house.
The downside of that is that we will be in the theoretical larger house for what, 20? 30? years, and then we’re probably going to want to move back into something smaller. Our parents are dealing with this now, the four and five bedroom houses that are so empty now that all the kids have moved away. They are wondering, and I’m sure we will be wondering, whether the upkeep on the larger place is worth keeping the memories that reside there.
It’s just another piece of this life now, trying to decide the best path forward that takes into account all of our needs. Two more little lives that have to be weighed in the decisions that we make.