Lifestyle

The Mom Stop: Growing family needs more room

Lydia Seabol Avant More Content Now
Posted: Jul. 2, 2019 9:11 am

“Mommy, I want to have my own house,” my 4-year-old daughter declared recently while she scrawled a drawing of a square house with a triangle-shaped roof and a four-pane window out front.

“What about Mommy and Daddy? Where will we live?” I asked her.

“You’ll live here,” she replied nonchalantly. “I want a house just for me.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Me too, kiddo. When I pressed her about what her house might look like, she said it would be “really big, with stairs, like Aunt Andrea’s.” I couldn’t help but call my sister and tell her that my 4-year-old wants to move in.

While my youngest daughter knows what kind of house she wants, she also recently told my husband that she wants a red sports car and that she already knows how to drive. Apparently she’s 4 going on 24.

You could say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

As a kid, I would sit in church and entertain myself by drawing house plans on the back of offertory envelopes. In class, I’d scrawl layouts on lined notebook paper while the teacher talked.

I dreamed my contractor dad would build me a house one day, since I grew up visiting his construction sites or working on home improvement projects with him. While visiting a historic section of Huntsville, Alabama, as a child, I fell in love with the colonial saltbox style house. As soon as I saw the movie “Father of the Bride” in 1991, my 10-year-old heart was set. I loved the colonial revival style of home. I imagined one day I’d live in a house with stairs, a house with a banister my kids could slide down (now, looking back, my mom brain definitely nixes that idea.) I imagined a home with a formal dining room, where we’d have big holiday dinners, and a kitchen that looked out on the backyard.

It was exactly the kind of house that my best friend in elementary school had. The kind of house with a grand entry and stairway, the kind of house that was timeless and classic.

It’s also the kind of house that I’ve never lived in. I grew up in a 1970s ranch-style home. For most of my adult life, I’ve lived in a one-story, cottage-style house that could also be considered a ranch. I’m a traditionalist. I love old houses. I’m not all about open concept, because, well, I don’t want to see the dirty dishes in my kitchen sink from my front door.

For the last several years, my husband and I have said “when we move,” as an eventual assumption. At first, we figured we’d only be in our house a couple of years, and then move on, likely to another town. But then we got married, settled in, had a kid, then another, and another. Tuscaloosa became home. After the April 27, 2011, tornado hit, tearing through our neighborhood and across town, our neighbors became more like family. Our neighborhood is a community that has helped raise our kids, a place where people greet the pets by name, where, if someone needs a cup of milk or a specific spice, it shows up shortly on your doorstep.

I don’t live in my dream house, but over the last 13 years, it’s been exactly what we needed. It’s been only recently that the sheer thought of moving made me repulsed. The idea of packing up was enough to give me anxiety.

But lately, I’ve realized that we might be getting to the point where our family of five with two dogs ought to look for a bigger house, something with room to grow. When we bought our house as an engaged couple moving from an apartment, 1,600 square feet seemed so big. But three kids later, we are very quickly outgrowing our beloved little house.

I’m not ready to move, just yet. But just as my daughter drew her dream stick-house on construction paper, I flipped through a real estate app on my phone, dreaming of our next house. Maybe it will be a two-story colonial with a center staircase, maybe it won’t. But for the first time in a long time, I’m excited about the possibility.

And for that reason, I know I’m ready to move - at least almost.

P.S. Puppy Gus is still improving after his accident (I tripped and fell on him). He’s doing better but still at the vet getting IV fluids and meds. He has partial vision but still has brain damage with a paralyzed jaw. He’s not anywhere near 100% yet, but he’s on the road to recovery!
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at lydia.seabolavant@tuscaloosanews.com.

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