I like my house.
By any standard it's a nice house, spacious and full of light. The kitchen is well equipped and pretty, the bedrooms look out on green spaces, and there's room for family, books, and conversation.
I know someday we might need to move. Someday we might want to move. But not yet.
“Wouldn't you like to downsize?” asked one of my daughters, noting that only her dad and I live here now. “A cozy bungalow -- doesn't that sound appealing?”
Well, no. It doesn't. And there are several reasons why:
* This house is full of memories. It's the last house where my dad visited us, and the last house where John's parents came to see us. I remember them all here for family dinners, or walking up the driveway or in the yard, or just stopping by for a visit.
*Seven of our eight kids spent a lot of time growing up here. Two of them had their weddings here, one in the back yard, one in the living room.
*All ten of our grandchildren think of this as our house, and have fun when they're here.
*We've remodeled the kitchen and the basement, re-roofed, planted shrubs, trees and flower beds, survived a flooded basement, and painted, patched and papered almost every room in this house. My dad and my uncle, all our kids, their friends -- everyone pitched in to help us fix up this place.
*When our dog Meg died, we buried her in the back yard; two of our boys came a long way to help.
*The rose bushes in the side yard were a gift from my confirmation class students one year. The lilac bush was a gift from another confirmation class.
* We have the best neighbors.
* We like the location -- we can walk uptown easily.
* This house has a peaceful quiet that I love. John and I enjoy breakfast at the picnic table or coffee on the swing or chilly Sunday afternoons in front of a fire.
* Did I mention all the family celebrations -- the Christmas morning when we got up to a picture-perfect snow, or the Easter egg hunts, or the Fourth of July backyard baseball games? Thanksgiving dinners when we have to set up tables in the living room and the basement? These walls have absorbed the joy and fun of those family times; on a quiet day they echo back that joy and fun.
* I like having space. I want room to spread out, room to invite people into. I would rather create cozy, not have it imposed on me by the down-size of a house.
* This house is a home, a shelter. When I turn onto our street, I feel as if I'm returning to a place where I belong, where I can relax or where I can get to work -- whichever I need to do. This house is the place where I can locate my family, my heart.
How will I ever fit all that into a bungalow?