That House

By Kelly

A Tuesday in mid-August doesn’t seem the most likely day for a dream to come true.

Even when it dawns sunny and bright and filled with the sing-song of birds and toddlers, the ordinariness is louder than the potential within.

That’s how my day started yesterday. A yawn, some coffee. Wipe a nose, pour some cereal, check the headlines, change a diaper.

Then it gained momentum, and like a snowball rolling downhill, it picked up speed and intensity. A friend came to visit with her two-month-old baby. Another friend called to announce she was in town unexpectedly; would my daughter want to play with her daughter? The doorbell rang. The bikes piled up.

And suddenly, I was that house.

You know. That house. The one in the neighborhood that seems to have children swarming in and out of the doors like so many bees in a hive. The one where sidewalk chalk etchings permanently decorate the driveway. The one where kids laugh and yell and instigate games of “Hike and Seek” and “Boy-Girl War.”

When I was growing up, our neighborhood was like an ad for suburbia. There were kids everywhere. My younger siblings were always out playing with friends and riding bikes to so-and-so’s house and catching fireflies in the communal backyards.

But since there were no kids my age in the neighborhood – I had the misfortune of being born too early in the 70s, apparently – I had no neighborhood friends. I spent most of my days indoors, reading a book while hanging upside down from the sofa or recording jingles on my very own tape deck for my personalized radio station (KLLY – The Music Of My Life).

It wasn’t until I was a leader in our church’s youth group that I started to envy the houses that were so comfortable with kids they appeared to have their own magnetic pull. Sunday evenings, when we would visit homes for “drop-ins,” I would watch from the corner amazed as parents welcomed scores of teenagers into their homes and proceeded to hand out cans of soda, bags of popcorn and the inevitable bandages and towels (for water balloon fights) without batting an eyelash.

I secretly hoped that someday, if I were to have children, I would have that kind of house. The kind that welcomed instead of warned, that shrugged when a ball knocked over a plant, that traded control for chaos and restraint for joy.

And that’s why I smiled inwardly yesterday at every “Mom! Can we have a snack?” and “Mom, we’re thirsty!” and “Mom, we need more bandages for the animal hospital!” Even the door slams and shrieks of laughter and spilled ice cream didn’t damper my delight.

Because in the middle of the craziness, I recognized a dream come true.

Even – or maybe especially – on a Tuesday in August.

Kelly’s personal blog is Love Well, which she views as an extension of her choatic home. Feel free to stop by. And bring your kids. The more the merrier.

7 Responses to That House
  1. Stephanie
    August 19, 2009 | 7:48 am

    You have a neat perspective for this… I have that house most days and should appreciate it more!


  2. Kelly
    August 19, 2009 | 10:48 am

    To be fair, I went to bed EXHAUSTED last night. Being the owner and operator of That House is hard work. And there were a few minutes when I was trying to talk to my friend yesterday when the incessant cries of “hungry” and “thirsty” made me growl.

    But overall, I’m glad they are playing and I’m glad their friends feel comfortable at our house and I’m glad I can be involved in their lives.

  3. Kellyn
    August 19, 2009 | 3:12 pm

    I have that same dream. Our neighborhood had two kids in it besides my siblings. I would go to my friends and there would be kids EVERYWHERE. I loved it. I look at my house and wish that for my kids.

  4. Kristen
    August 19, 2009 | 9:42 pm

    I, too, have the dream of being that house. Every now and then we are that house, and I love it. The house where the lemonade flows, and where mom lets you dip your oreos in milk, no matter how stinkin’ messy it gets. Yep, every now and then.

  5. Hannah
    August 20, 2009 | 12:01 am

    Love this! I’ve totally experienced both that longing AND those moments of fulfillment, even though the chaos can be exhausting. It’s worth it! You put it into words beautifully.

  6. melissa
    August 20, 2009 | 6:05 am

    I hope to have such a house when my little one grows older

  7. Louise
    August 20, 2009 | 8:18 am

    My parents were that home for college students–where they could come and eat through a week’s supplies of groceries in one night, where they could play games or watch movies or discuss theology and philosophy … a home away from home. That’s what I’ve always aspired to, but now I’m thinking maybe I should start practicing now, when my kids are younger. (Well, now NOW specifically, since the oldest isn’t even two. But “now” as in before they reach college age.) A lovely, inspiring post!

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