A House Does Not A Home Make

“I’m just not emotionally attached to this house. I don’t love it.” I said to MiniSir one night while we lay in bed. I figured it would just be one of those nighttime confessions that we acknowledge and move on from. But it wasn’t. 

The next day he asked me to confirm. And I did. “I don’t,” I said. “I don’t love this house.”

“I do,” he replied. 

And thus the gap formed. I could see it his way instantly – it’s the first house either of us, together or separately, had ever owned. It was the house we brought our baby boy home to when we were finally let go from the hospital. It’s the house where he learned he was getting promoted, the house where we have watched our son play and grow, and the house where we painstakingly poured our energy into fixing each of the kinks the builders left us. Typically, I would be right there with him. 

Except this house isn’t typical. We purchased it in a mad rush to have somewhere to live once the baby arrived. Our apartment building confirmed that even though it was adults only, having a baby didn’t qualify as reason enough to break the lease without penalty, so we were short that money already out of pocket. We needed something in a specific price range, something we didn’t have to do any work on, or with a lawn to keep up while we adjusted to having a newborn. We wanted to buy, to be responsible with our money, and we wanted it close to the base for an easy commute. This house had all that. 

We bought it having only looked at it once for 5 mins. And the week before possession, I woke in the night bleeding and having contractions. I was 28 weeks pregnant. We rushed to the hospital and while I was convalescing there under watchful eyes for the next three weeks, my husband took possession of the house, signed the papers, moved us, and set up home. I came home to a house that was already someone’s home. But it wasn’t mine. 

I can’t remember much of the last year. Most days up until Christmas are a blur of sleep depravation and obligations. I volunteered for our condo board hoping to keep an ear to the ground about neighbourhood development, and wound up being the president. My house is no longer a home, as community members, unsatisfied with various things, knock on my door seeking resolution. But even that isn’t why I’m not in love.

The truth is, I never walked into this house and instantly loved it. I saw that it would work and that it was nice and that was that. I was tired and full of baby. And by the time came that I got settled in here, I knew deep down I would never love it. It is a great house. But it’s only my home because the people I love most are here with me in it. 

Some day I hope I have a house I love. I know a fellow military wife with their house on the market right now, and every showing is like she’s got to pick a body part to sell. She adores her house and doesn’t want to move. When that finally happens to me, I hope I feel exactly the same way. 

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One comment

  1. Having lived in many houses, loving some and hating some, it’s better to be ambivalent. At least until you get to your forever home. When we had to leave a house I loved, it was such a painful experience. When we were forced to live in a house I hated, it made for a very long 2 years.

    And you’re right, it’s all about the people and the rituals and the flow of your family life that makes a house into a home. I once overheard my daughter telling someone that although she had lived in many houses, her life was pretty much exactly the same every where we lived. It’s about putting up the Christmas tree and family movie nights and bedtime stories (sadly, not for me anymore), ordering Chinese food on report card day and the annual Easter egg hunt … all the things that you can do anywhere, but will leave the biggest imprint on your child’s memory. Oh, and always take tons of pictures! 😉

    Like

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