In My Neighborhood :: Home

by Stefani on 11-October-2007

Little Golden Things

How did we get here?

I ask myself that question a lot.

A lot, a lot.

Remember that song?

The short story is this: we bought a little starter home when we married. We didn’t really have any plans after that, but when Husband’s family decided to sell their house and build their dream home, we just couldn’t resist.

I was a little worried. What would it be like to live in his family’s home? Would it ever feel like mine? Would he freak out if I wanted to change the light fixtures or put the silverware in a different place?

The Light

It’s such a nice house though, built solid, with Texas Limestone, in the 70s fashion – big rooms, big trees, big yard, biggo yellow counterops. At the time, it was the far end of the universe too. We couldn’t have known what was coming.

So we bought it. That’s not really the story though, the “how we got here” bit, the important part is why we stay.

We visited some friends a whle back, who had just bought five acres, on which they’ve built a lovely new home. I came home in tears. I begged him to consider selling the place moving outside of the city, to a place where we could breath and our kids could roam the woods.

Sometimes I ache to be free of this suburban sprawl. It’s disheartening, greying to the soul.

But I cannot deny it, this is home.

How could I leave it?

How could I walk away from the place where I set up shop as a cocky young freelance publicist, certain she’d set the world on fire from her headquarters in the room that once belong to her husband’s grandmother? That room evolved from office to playroom to schoolroom. How could I leave it to become something new, for someone who did not know all that it had been?

How could I leave our backyard, where we once built a stage and had a live band and fireworks to usher in the new millennium? The same yard that twinkled with white lights the night before my wedding, as my soon-to-be in-laws served every known relation barbecue and desserts, the likes of which I’d never imagined. This yard, where my husband once played with his dog, where I spent long Saturdays (pre-child Saturdays) reading in the hot tub. This is the yard where my chickens once pecked, where the boys grandfather once worked in his woodshop, where their Daddy now keeps his office, and where my boys swing and try to touch the sky. How could I leave it?

How could we leave when Peter Cottontail lives under our deck?

Where Rabbits Hide

Afterall, this is where the Tooth Fairy and Santa know where to find us.

If we left, the new owners would want us to paint over all the little crayon marks and measures of time that tell you children live here.

Marking Time

I could not do that.

How could I leave this place, when this is where I dreamt of having children, painted a nursery, and, bewildered, brought home a our first child? And then another, and then one more? How could I leave the place where they learned to walk and talk, read and ride a bike without training wheels? How?

And how could I leave, knowing that all these wonderful little milestones of childhood were crossed by their father too, right in this very spot? That little boy is mine too, and his childhood is just as precious to me.

See, I feel a little like a a little girl playing tag. I’ve drawn my circle in the sand, declared it base, and nothing, but nothing can touch me here. Not Wal-Mart, not Old Navy, not Home Depot. This spot is ours, and we will not be made to leave it. Besides, I can’t help but look at my husband, his grown brother and sister and think that I’ve got the cards stacked in my favor. This ground has already proven fertile for growing.

This is home.

Come On In!

Teaque October 12, 2007 at 3:29 am

I have loved reading all of these entries – makes me want to do similar posts but I can’t seem to take my one picture a day that I said I would awhile back, let alone all this… you’ve done a great job with the assignment. This one hit home – we live in my husband’s grandfathers house. I too worried that it would never be mine, would his family have a fit when I painted the walls, would I be able to get over the fact that grandpa died in our bedroom etc etc. But it does feel like ours and even though we dream of having land of our own and not hearing out neighbors snore I’m not so sure we’ll ever be able to leave.

Ellie October 12, 2007 at 3:38 am

My heart swelled reading this, and my breath caught, and the tears welled up. Such beautiful memories have happened in your house, and are being made daily.
Yes, home, home, home. I was lucky enough to live in the same house all through my childhood, and my Dad still lives there. That is my heart home. Yet here, in my adult home, is my heart home. A train line is across the road, I can smell what the neighbours are cooking for dinner, I see cars and roads and… well, it’s a city. But, still it’s home. Though, maybe I should move before I get too too too connected like you are. We don’t have quite the same history as you do in your house.
You’ll just take lots of “farm” holidays, visit your friends lots – buy a holiday house…

Sarah Jackson October 12, 2007 at 5:20 am

I’m going to go find a tissue now. That was especially poignant to me because we had to sell the family home for Jeff to go to school. I remember all of those same anxieties so well, and the joy of carrying in the same place where there were already so many memories. I can’t wait to settle in and start creating them again.

Vanessa October 12, 2007 at 5:25 am

You have some great roots there..a home with history–I would not want to leave either!

jade October 12, 2007 at 5:50 am

Never doubt where you are… God has a plan and it’s obviously a very beautiful plan for you and your family! I love the stories. I’ve always imagined living and raising children in my grandparents house. I’d move in a heartbeat if it was ever a possibility. Enjoy your home! Countertops and all!!!

Jessica Hood October 12, 2007 at 5:53 am


Sarah October 12, 2007 at 6:14 am

Maybe everyone has those feelings of conflict regarding home. I know I certainly do. I would really love to live farther out in the country, where it is quiet, and the neighbors are far apart, where we could gaze upon acres and acres of the cornfields. But, on the other hand, our lives are here, our friends and family, school for Jack and so much more. (And it always makes me a little sad that this is a rental house, and we will eventually leave the place where Jack started growing up!)

Amy October 12, 2007 at 6:27 am

Beautiful – We too have a 70s ranch – with far less history of course – and I SO often dream of having a cool old house or a new modern eco loft — but home is home, as you say. You are all flourishing there.

beki October 12, 2007 at 6:40 am

Oh my, I’m just now catching up on your Neighborhood week. Where in the hack have I been all week? I love it, I really do. Your home seems so full of love. I’m sure it really has a soul.

Tania Stearns-Smith October 12, 2007 at 7:16 am

this one brought the tears – it’s been amazing reading your entries for the week.

Marjorie October 12, 2007 at 8:15 am

I feel your pain… Home is what you make of it, right? I would love property and space, too. But it would be hard to leave our home – and it would be hard to afford a new place 😉

erin October 12, 2007 at 10:32 am

i have goosebumps.

lina October 12, 2007 at 11:26 am

Wow, writing like this takes my breath away. What an amazing story that lies behind your home.

nancy October 12, 2007 at 11:55 am

Wow! I just caught up and read all your “neighborhood” posts in one sitting. Nice writing and thanks for the inspiration! Oh, and those are cool shoes, diggin’ the skulls.

Lori October 12, 2007 at 1:30 pm

beautiful essay — poetic was also the word i had in mind!

sprawl is so terrible .. i hate it. we have our 18 acres but everything around us is seeping closer and closer .. three different communities spreading like a stain, using up all the beautiful farmland, pastures, little bits of woods.

in illinois, 90% of the forest is privately owned, and private owners average only 10 acres each if i remember right. so our little forest is a piece of everything we have .. yet everyone around us is selling their 10 acres of trees (that used to be wood lots) and each one is losing trees, deer, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, birds, butterflies, opossums, skunks, hawks, owls .. and getting 10 new 3,000-square-foot homes.

they cut down the trees, even though there is empty land right next to the trees. oh, lorax!

Molly October 12, 2007 at 4:44 pm

I always love to find out how people found their home and how they come to call it home, even when wondering how they got there. I probably sing “that song” at least once a week. We were married at my husband’s childhood home and my kids run around the same yard and play with the same toys my husband grew up with. There’s no place like home.

melissa October 12, 2007 at 8:28 pm

thank you for sharing your neighborhood with us all this week. i used to live in austin, and some days i just ache from missing it so much.
this last post was very touching – how wonderful to have such a deep connection with a space. and how wonderful that this space is your home.

Steph October 13, 2007 at 3:28 am

A beautiful way to say it. And really, how could you leave Peter Cottontail?

kristin October 13, 2007 at 6:08 am

you know where you are


michelle October 13, 2007 at 12:25 pm

Sweet =) I enjoyed reading this–especially because I can say I’ve often felt the same way–I see a new place and I can envision myself living in it and I want desperately to do so, but then I come home and wonder–How could I ever leave my home?

Anne October 13, 2007 at 4:14 pm

I always love reading your posts, but this one was beautiful. The picture of the doorway marking your boys growth is perfect. Thank you for participating this week, it has opened my eyes to how blessed we all are.

leslie October 13, 2007 at 7:25 pm

whew! stef!

we almost left this house for colorado and i am so thankful we stayed… this was my first house bought working two and three jobs at a time with dreams so big i couldnt begin to reach them. there is something to be said about history and all those years and years of memories. love all the nostalgia in this post, i think i am lacking that somedays.

Lisa October 13, 2007 at 7:44 pm

You have a wonderful way of weaving stories with your images. It’s beautiful.

clara October 14, 2007 at 8:40 am

home sweet home!

dianeinjapan October 14, 2007 at 7:42 pm

So much history there–it would indeed be very difficult to leave! It was hard enough for us just to sell the house where our son was born, even though we knew we were unlikely to live in it again, after returning from abroad.

Tracy October 15, 2007 at 5:37 am

Oh Stefani. It WOULD be hard to leave all of that. It’s hard to leave any place with lovely history, though. Your words make me really feel all of it.

Kendra October 15, 2007 at 9:40 am

This made me cry..beautifully written.

Di October 15, 2007 at 11:33 am

What a beautiful post! And truly a home!! Not just somewhere to lay your head but somewhere that you created a family, filled with love and definitely worth savouring!!

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