Once upon a time Jeff and I lived in a comfortable little house in Dallas, Georgia which is about thirty or so miles west of Atlanta. We fixed it up, worked hard, loved our serene and cozy home. It had a huge, flowing river birch in the front yard and dogwoods dominating the backyard. It had a little window over the kitchen sink that looked onto our miniature magnolia tree. The sunlight filtered through the windows like poetry, lighting our happy little home with warmth and sunshine.
Jeff took a year off of work to go to school. I took a year off to raise our baby girl. Money was tight. We accumulated debt. We couldn't afford the house anymore. We put it up for sale and it had a contract on it less than two weeks later.
Since then we stayed with my mom for a long while, carving out a little corner in her massive home, then eventually migrated north and eventually settled in my in-laws' trailer. I have often had moments where I suddenly stop and my temporary blindness is stripped away. I abruptly see everything clearly and want to ask myself “How did I get here? Since when do I live in a trailer?” and then things continue to unfold in a familiar way and this is just where I sleep, eat, take care of the kiddos – it's where I live, unfortunately.
I try to think of my grandmother, who raised three children in a tiny two-bedroom blockhouse. Or my husband's grandmother who raised seven children in home that may not even be classified as a “house”. We have a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, clothes on our backs. That's all that matters, right?
The plan was to build our dream house on this land. The house we want, the house we've wanted for years, costs too much for us to build. We don't want to settle for something less because once we build it here, well, it's here forever. So we're stuck. We don't WANT to live in a trailer, but we can't afford our dream home.
The solution? Something in between. We signed a contract to buy a house today.
I feel a little breathless.