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For the first time in my whole life, I went and viewed a house yesterday. If you’re not someone I know in real life, there’s a whole lot you still don’t know about me. I think I previously mentioned that I became a mom at 19, and there’s a whole lot more to that story I won’t get into here, but suffice it to say I never thought home ownership was in my future. When my first husband and I divorced, I applied for a mortgage loan, but then was so overwhelmed by all the adult things this would entail that I never went any further.

Truth be told, I don’t hate apartment life. If something breaks, someone else has to come fix it, and I don’t have to pay for it. My electric bill is pretty low. There are only so many choices for providers of all kinds. It’s not so bad.

So when Husband brought up buying a house, I just kind of humored him. Between just having given birth this year, the unexpected second hospital stay for Little Brother, and watching Big Brother becoming a man before my eyes, not to mention some rather radical changes in my job, I certainly didn’t think it would really be a viable option this year. Husband obsessively looked at houses, and every once in a while I would agree to look at one. It turns out that Husband and I were imagining very different homes.

During one of these humorings, I noticed a house within our acceptable price range. I flipped through some pictures. The decor choices were so appalling that I kept looking. And then I realized that the bones of this house are perfect for our family. There were a lot of things I could see, even from realtor pictures, we would need to change over time. But the fundamental being of the house spoke to me about the kind of family we are, the kind of family I want us to be, and how the space we live in shapes us. I was obsessed.

I put off seeing the house longer than is probably sane in the housing market we’re surrounded by. In fact, it was under contract for a while and I thought we’d lost our chance. Some piece of me believed that if I went to see it, it would disappoint me thoroughly in reality, and that would put me off the house hunt forever. I’m a bit of a catastropist.

I wasn’t wrong. It did disappoint me. There are a lot more things that would need to be fixed than I could see in photos. But more than that, it showed me what I want for my family. It clarified for me things I value in our relationships and things I want to improve in weird ways. It has an unnecessarily large porch, but it’s perfect for putting a kiddie pool on so the little ones can play in the water right at home in the summer, enjoying the splashing water time we all love without all the paraphernalia being hauled to a distant pool. Big Brother’s bedroom would be a converted attic space, giving him privacy and us peace from his R-rated movies with just a short set of stairs between him and family time. The kitchen has a peninsula that would allow Middle Brother to be my sous chef without being in the way while I cook. The living area is large enough for us to host family holidays so we don’t have to cart the littler brothers around between both sets of grandparents for a few years. Each brother will have his own room, but still be in close quarters with the whole family.

My apartment has always been utilitarian, a place I, or we, stop off between adventures. I’d never thought of a home as the place that holds your important parts.

We haven’t bought the house. We haven’t even put in an offer. Whether we end up living there or not, I’m sure glad I had the experience.

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