In the immortal words of JRR Tolkien, "It's a dangerous business, going out your door." If I had known what was going to happen, I might have stayed home, because as positive as it might be, what followed is turning out to be a whole lot of work. For good or ill, I did go out, and now I have to deal with the consequences.
It started, as many things do, with poking around on the internet. I like looking at houses. I enjoy imagining the possibilities, mentally exploring other spaces, other lifestyles. 99.9% of the time, I reawaken to my surroundings and say to myself "Ahhh, how nice that we live HERE instead!" Because I do love my house. It's a brick, Tudor-style cottage, two-story with lots of trees and landscaping. The downstairs is open to the loft, which means high, high ceilings and so much natural sunlight I don't need to turn the lights on all day. The kitchen is a cute little thing, there are big French doors to the back patio, and the master bathroom is pure serenity (after we remodeled, that is.) Sure, the lot is very small. Sure, the carpet is a disaster, after three and a half years of abuse from the children and animals. But it's my home, and I've always been happy here.
Still, my natural wanderlust drives me to at least look. Sometimes, I'd get as far as driving by a house, then sending pictures to my husband via email. Fortunately my husband is a much more grounded sort, and anytime I'd get too far down the road of "maybe," he'd pull me back to reality. He would gesture to our home and say - either by word or by action - "Think, my butterfly wife, of all the things we don't have to do, just by staying where we are. No contracts, no inspections, no agents, no movers, no packing, no showings, no unpacking or closing costs or hidden surprises ... Just us and our little house." And I'd sigh with contentment and wallow in the lazy glory that was Not Doing All That Stuff.
I would still look.
So imagine my surprise when I sent yet another link to my husband and, after carefully considering it, he said "You wanna drive by it?" We did, and I was delighted to share my enthusiasm for dreaming with him. But then ... he asked if we could get a Realtor to show it to us. For real? Who are you and what have you done with my sensible, change-evasive husband? I called the listing agent.
The house was, indeed, beautiful. Hardwoods, new cabinetry, a mudroom and a big kitchen. No second story, so no more loft, but also no stairs for the baby to try to climb. Best of all, it had land. Enough for a horse or two, maybe goats, definitely more chickens. And not only that, but the land was beautiful, with towering trees, blackberry trellises and large drifts of bluebonnets. Did I mention horses? I could have a horse. I mean, uh, the kids could have a horse. Two horses, perhaps! My husband loves nothing better than to see that he can give me something that will make me deliriously happy - it's one of his finest features. I think he saw the dreams sprouting in my eyes as we stared out over the land. We were smitten.
Fast forward a week. Lots of phone calls and research has been done. We're talking contracts, surveys, inspections, platting, contingencies and moving companies. Do we sell or rent out our little cottagy house? How the heck did we get here? Wasn't I the nutty one a few weeks ago, looking at houses when we had no intention of moving? So many unanswered questions and little things to do that cannot be answered or done yet that my head spins. None of which, of course, does much for my parenting or my tipsy spirituality.
But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is shining on our image of what we want our life to be. If I can see past all the work that is to be done in the immediate future, I know it will be worth it. It's not only physical work that will be done, but mental and spiritual Work. I will need to pour myself into the land and the house, to make it ours, a home. But that is the kind of thing that I love, the kind of Work that, like all magic, gives back three times over what I give to it. I look forward to when the big things are over, when I can turn my attention to the little details that are waiting for me - the mantel, arranging the kitchen just so, and oh, the GARDENS! Plural! The chickens and goats! And at last, at long, long, last, a horse in my backyard.
Not that it's all about me - I'm just the one who does the vast majority of the Work. But it's not me I do it for, mostly. I do it for my family, for the little munchkins who are growing up underfoot. My baby has become a toddler, my toddler has become a preschooler. I think somewhere inside me, the wanderlust part, I knew that a little house with a sneeze of a yard in the suburbs was not what we wanted for the shape of their lives in the long run. I knew we wanted THIS, space to roam, food that came from our property and our work, not from the store. A country life.
And it's not just for me and the kids. It's for my husband too. Caring for animals and gardens might be more my idea of a good time, but he loves being around beauty and happiness as much as any rational creature can. He works so hard to take care of our little family, strives every day to see that the kids and I are happy and healthy. When he comes home, tired and frustrated from work, I want our home to enfold him, to comfort and revive him. Home is a place of refuge, a sanctuary. I know he will take as much from a beautiful, remote home as I will, perhaps in different ways.
There are always a hundred reasons not to do something. It's hard; it's expensive; it's time-consuming or smelly or frustrating. There are always other things asking for attention. But that doesn't mean that a big change, be it moving, changing jobs, or going back to school, is not worth doing. My heart tells me that this one, this dream, is the right one. And if the house falls through, if it doesn't happen now for some reason, then we'll know this particular piece of property wasn't meant to be ours. But at least now we have a much more clearly defined idea of what we want. And more importantly, my husband and I have realized that as hard as it might seem, we really are ready and willing to do it, come what may. Live the dream; after all, what alternative could there really be?
About the Author: Julie Cox is a new pagan writer and artist who lives with her two young children and husband in Texas. She carries degrees in both Art and Religion. To see more of Julie's artwork go to Shopping and Art gallery on our main menu.