For much of my adult life, I lived in a tiny home in my home town of Tulsa, OK in a neighborhood called Florence Park – where houses were built in the 1930s and didn’t come equipped with ceiling mounted livingroom lights. My children were small and we were piled upon each other in that tiny house that rounded out to just over 1100 Square feet. I used to sing the “love grows best in little houses” song when I would shuffle one pile of household related crap to another location, there was never any room to put anything unless it was on your body or in your hand. The girls had to share a room indefinitely and no matter what room you were in, you could hear the conversations taking place in all of the other rooms – which always made it hard to discuss Christmas, argue, or do anything remotely adult like. I fell asleep at night listening to Grace and Gabby’s rhythmic sleep breathing and the whirl and whiz of cars on the expressway right outside. There was definitely no room for birthday parties and overnight visits – they happened on ocassion but were few and far between. Still, it was our home and I adored it.
When we moved to Oklahoma City and I had the opportunity to buy a little bit larger, I was torn. Our home is a very modest 2400 SF, not too many rooms (unless you’re trying to clean them all) and it showcases the taste of my husband and myself, having the selections that we made during the building process. When we bought this home, I prayed that we would be able to fill it with people to make it worthwhile, because even though modest, we didn’t need all of the space we were about to take on to live –you have to remember, it was double what I was used to and felt hollow at first. I’m a conservative mind in all aspects of my life (except leftovers, throw that shit away!) – so this felt wrong to me on a lot of levels.
I worried that if we had space between us that we wouldn’t spend time together, if there was more than one living space, that we wouldn’t have family time, if the kids were on a separate hall from us, then we wouldn’t be able to be there for them in the night. I worried that love really did grow best in tiny houses like my Florence Park bungalow and that I was, in a small sense, disrupting the family relationship by giving everyone a little breathing room. (Gee Momwich, suffocating much)?
To top those unrealistic worries off, I often complain about the mortgage payment, or the dishwasher, or the fact that my lazy ass has no desire to clean it. Shuffling piles from one stack to the next in my former “apartment-with-a-yard” was far easier than actually putting things in it’s place and cleaning this. I complain that it’s in the boonies where nothing but one convenient store exists, or I complain sometimes that we’re on the opposite end of the street from all the cool people.
The truth is though, I think I just complain to hear myself complain.
The addition to that truth is that I love this home and the life it has brought to us.
Our home is often filled with four or five teenagers who could be out goofing off at the mall but somehow end up here, there’s usually always a tweenie bopper or two floating around and you can find modest get-togethers with adult friends going on from time to time and pretty regularly there’s a family member in the guest room/office for an overnight stay.
I no longer feel guilty for doubling the square footage or the mortgage payment because I realize that love doesn’t just grow best in little houses – it grows best wherever your family is, wherever your friends are – in a large home, in a small cottage, sharing a bedroom or sleeping in rooms located on two separate hallways. Whether the mortgage payment is $15 or $1500.
I fall in love with this place every time I look up from my work and realize that there are people everywhere and we’re making proper use of the space, making memories.
And I continue to feel this way until I think about the changes that will take place in the next few years when the girls go off to college, when we are left with three bedrooms and 1 bathroom more than we need — but I know that the memories we make here, and the life lessons taking place here are what makes this place home, and that, coupled with the washer and dryer and free meals will keep those college kids coming right back home where their roots are.
Our love is growing best right where we are.