Our Real House

By Melissa Face

Our Real House

I told one of my students that my husband and I were buying a new home.

“How exciting!” she commented. “Is it your dream house?”

“Not exactly,” I answered, without thinking about what her question really meant.

It isn’t a dream house by HGTV or any other home improvement show’s standards. It doesn’t have an elevator, a guest house or a media room. There is no dedicated shoe closet, backyard beach or hydroponic garden in the kitchen.

Those features are extraordinary, but they are not “such stuff as my dream home is made on.”

For the past few years, I have envisioned having a large living space that did not also hold our kitchen and dining areas. I have fantasized about how nice it would be to have a separate dining room and be able to host a real dinner party, complete with formal dishes and glasses. And more recently, I have dreamed about my children playing in a spacious yard that is not right next to a frequently traveled road.

My husband and I contacted our realtor, Carla, this past February and began looking at a few properties online. We scheduled some visits and were just beginning to walk inside the second property of interest when my realtor noticed my expression.

“It’s only the second house you’ve seen,” she warned. “Don’t get excited too quickly.”

“Oh, I’m not,” I lied. I faked minimal interest as we continued to tour the house. But in my mind, I had already moved in. My clothes were already hanging in the closet, and my book collection was displayed on the upstairs landing. My heart was invested in the house well before my money was.

The house was exactly what my husband and I were looking for. It had a private road and a wooded lot, elements that we did not think possible when it was so close to city life. It had a large front yard, fenced back yard, separate dining area and a fourth bedroom that we could use for a playroom. It was perfect for our family of four.

The next day, we made an offer, negotiated the price and closing costs a bit and then signed the contract. We waited for our loan to be approved, dealt with the home inspection and appraisal, and a few weeks later… it was our house.

In recent days, we have begun the arduous process of packing and moving our belongings. While cleaning out under my bed, I found a book of dream home floor plans that I bought from Lowe’s several years ago. There was a time when we thought we might build our own dream home, and the book would serve as a source of inspiration. It has been under my bed ever since.

Flipping through the pages, I realized that my new home looked nothing like the plans in that book. But I thought back to the conversation with my student and realized I may have answered her question incorrectly.

Perhaps the new house is our dream house. As we have grown older and had two children, our dreams have changed. Finding a home near a highly ranked school system has taken priority over spiral staircases and soaking tubs. A secluded road with minimal traffic ranks higher than skylights and window seats. The luxuries that we once hoped to enjoy are no longer as important as having space to feed extended family and spend time with our children. What we have is even better than a dream house; it’s our real house.

About this writer

  • Melissa FaceMelissa Face lives in southern Virginia with her husband, son and daughter. Her stories and essays have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort. Email Melissa at writermsface@yahoo.com.

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3 Responses to “Our Real House”

  1. The perfect house, like the perfect figure is all in our heads. A house is not a home. Home is where you and your family feel at ease, no matter the floor plan. I love seeing your little ones at play. Moving is a big job.

  2. Rose Ann says:

    Funny, how our “wants” change to fit our needs–and making those choices make us happy. Nice essay!

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