Moving into David’s parents’ house was a no-brainer. We’d save on rent, have an easy commute to River Valley (where we’re both happily teaching now), and do Mark and Cheryl the favor of care-taking the homestead while they’re in Dallas.
Okay, confession time: I’ve never wanted to live in a big house. I love rambling old New England farmhouses, but I love other people’s rambling old New England farmhouses. Too much upkeep for me. Too many surprises.
The first time I fell in love with a home – the first time it felt truly my own – was when I lived in a tiny studio apartment on Lovett Street. I spent five delicious years there, and I brought my attention to every nook and cranny.
I’d been in the Draper homestead many, many times, but it wasn’t until we moved in that I realized how many nooks and crannies I didn’t even know existed. I couldn’t bring my attention to all of them if that was the only thing I did every day.
The fact is, I love small living spaces because I feel like I have some semblance of control over them. This concern for detail is a gift when I direct it toward creative pursuits: writing, music-making, even arranging the bathroom cabinets.
It becomes a liability when I direct it toward life itself. I want to have a Plan. I want a clear career track, and one for David too. I want to know if and when we’ll have children. I want to know that we’ll be safe and healthy and that everyone we love will have everything they need.
From the vantage point of first world privilege, that doesn’t sound like too much to ask. But it is, isn’t it? No amount of careful planning can prepare us for life’s surprises. Keeping a home neat and organized won’t shield me from illness, death, or even mundane discomforts.
So here is the exquisite challenge: to relax my grip on the details and receive the abundance of this season. Perhaps I’ll never keep up with the sweeping, but even on an overcast morning, these hardwood floors shine.
On Saturday we paused our weeding and unpacking to visit the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society. We thought we wanted a pair of kittens, but instead we fell in love with a stripy gray three-legged cat. Suddenly the big old house doesn’t feel like a big old project. Now any of the nooks and crannies might be holding Thomas.
Purring fills in the edges of the days.
Our new home is like life: big, beautiful, and way beyond my control. There is no Plan. There is today. The most we can do is fill it with love.