Our first apartment was 900 square feet, and I LOVED it.
I remember feeling giddy as the owner showed us around the two bedroom duplex, and then exclaiming “We’ll take it!,” totally clueless that he’d still have to run a credit check and compare us to other potential tenants. Luckily we got the place, and for a 23 year old couple with no kids, it was perfect. Neither of us had lived on our own before, so being able to have friends over for game night in our tiny kitchen, barbecuing on our compact deck, and watching whatever we wanted together on TV were enough to make us totally content.
After a year or so, we decided to buy a house; something with more room to start a family. It had three bedrooms and a basement, and at the time, we couldn’t imagine what else we could want. We brought two little boys home to it, two years apart, and while they were babies, it was fine. Until I realized what a pain it was to carry a basket of laundry up and down the steps while trying not to allow the rugrats to take a tumble when they wanted to follow me, and until we discovered where children love to play the most: outside (who knew?). We hadn’t considered when we bought the home that if our kids walked out the back door and took a few steps past the driveway, they’d basically fall over a bluff (guess we should have thought of that when we bought a house on a street named “Bluffside”). Hence, our search continued for the perfect home.
The main thing we needed was a yard, and once I saw the one I wanted, I couldn’t let it go. It was slightly over our budget, but I continued to drive by several times a week to see if anyone had bought it, and tried to convince my husband by making lists of all the reasons we had to have this house. Thankfully, he gave in, and it was THE best decision we could have made. Rodney built a six-foot tall fence, so in our yard, I knew the kids were always safe. Through my kitchen window, while cooking or doing dishes, I could keep an eye on them playing in the sandbox or on the swing set.
As they got older, climbing our trees became their favorite pastime (and a source for many of my near heart-attacks as they challenged each other who could go higher).
Fall was one of our favorite times each year, when the leaves changed and Rodney would rake them into huge piles that the boys would jump (and sometimes get thrown) into. A few years ago, our little girl came along, and she loves to draw with chalk on our patio, play on her climber, and swim in her little pool – most of the time with her “sister,” a silly Goldendoodle.
For the past eight years, the space that our house has has been perfect for us. Our three bedrooms are all within feet of each other, so when any baby cried or child called out, they were just a few steps away, whether to comfort for a bad dream or scoop up to make it to the toilet before they puked (most of the time unsuccessfully).
Our unfinished basement has been every child’s dream: A racetrack that’s open year-round. If it’s too hot or cold outside, scooters, skateboards, tricycles and more are up for grabs to ride around and around in circles for hours.
My house has upstairs laundry (that I can do at the same time that I unload the dishwasher – score one for efficiency!), a big open kitchen, a fireplace, a two car garage – all those things I wanted when we first found it. BUT since I married the Jolly Green Giant, our big boys are probably not going to be comfortable doubled up in their twin size bunk beds for too much longer (not to mention that when I try to ground one to his room, the other one says “but where am I supposed to go?”). So before long we will be searching for a house that can accommodate our needs. The next “perfect place.”
If I could write the description for buyers to read, it would go something like this:
Three bedroom, two bath home within walking distance to nearly everything in town. Ride bikes to the sno-cone stand and push strollers to the library and three parks.
Cozy up with the family in front of the fireplace while watching Blue’s Clues or Harry Potter. Entertain guests in your lovely kitchen, where you can easily hand wine glasses over the large counter to all the moms in need of a drink.
Take comfort in knowing that the master bedroom is very close to the other two, so as soon as you hear a child fall off the top bunk, you can sprint to him and toss him back into bed before he wakes up too much.
This private, sprawling backyard transforms into a baseball diamond, soccer field, and basketball court, and two mature maple trees are perfect for climbing and provide ample shade for your dog to stay cool if you decide to stay at Target a little longer than you planned.
The unfinished basement has a rough-in for a bath, but keeping it unfinished is your best bet if you want your house to be the envy of all your kids’ friends, as in their eyes being able to ride bikes and plasma cars in the house is just about the best thing since uncrustables.
This house may not have all the bells and whistles of a brand new one, but for a young family who likes to spend time together, it’s absolutely perfect.