The Big Family House
In anticipation of having children, my husband and I got all our ducks in a row. Often without even necessarily meaning to. Our life was following this simple plan:
- Step 1 – finish multiple university degrees, each. (You know, we have to be able to afford the future children)
- Step 2 – buy the starter house.
- Step 3 – get the dog.
- Step 4 – buy the family house.
- Step 5 – paint the bedrooms, including the nursery.
- Step 6 – have 2 babies.
- Step 7 – raise 2 babies into well-adjusted and responsible adults.
- Step 8 – live happily ever after.
So, our whole life plan was predicated on our anticipation of having and raising children.
We anticipated having children.
We anticipated having children would be easy.
The plan went perfectly…until it didn’t.
We were wrong.
And here we are today with the big, empty house. A house that we love, in a community that we love, with neighbors we (mostly) love.
We worked hard to be able to afford our house. And we worked hard to turn our house into our home. A home that reflects us, and is filled with love and laughter. But, so far, the home is not filled with laughter from children. Our home is mostly a quite home (unless I’m cleaning, then the music usually gets turned up pretty loud so I can rock out). We mostly use the main floor, with the kitchen, my husband’s office and our main living room. The basement living room sits quite and mostly unused. As, we currently have no reason to build a playroom in the basement living room, we’ve slowly started to build a home gym instead.
Our house is filled with our things like beautiful pictures from our travels hung on the walls; trinkets picked up in different parts of the world on the shelves; and, camera gear in what should be a toy box. Yet, we would give anything to have brightly colored plastic toys littering the floor, pictures of our family hanging on our walls, and fun finger painted pictures hung on our fridge. So, for now, we are making the best of what we have, and ensuring we love our home and we have created a beautiful adult focused home in the absence of children.
We have 4 bedrooms in our home – that were envisioned to eventually include 1 master bedroom, 2 kid rooms and one guest-room. When we moved in, we got right into painting the upstairs rooms – the master, and the 2 kid rooms. As for paint colors, we compromised on our room, and each picked a color for the 2 kids rooms. And, we turned one of them into a guest room for the time being since we had an extra bed. So, we have 1 master bedroom, 2 guest-rooms, and 1 nursery room. With the intent of turning the upstairs guest-room into a kid room for our first child when the second one came along. (Look, at us, with all our good planning…)
But, this of course since we are still waiting/working on the producing the first living child this means, we are faced with an empty room. An empty room that we painted in the perfect color for a nursery, and nothing else (in my humble opinion, no-one would choose the color we did for anything but a nursery and/or a little kid room). So, now we have an empty nursery without a baby.
We have to walk past that room to get into our bedroom – the design of our home means there is literally no option but to walk past it. This means no matter what, at a minimum, I walk past the room 2 times a day. We’ve lived here for over 2 years now, which means I have walked past that room a minimum of 730 times. And of course that is just a minimum, because I can promise you that some days I have walked in and out of my bedroom multiple times as I run back upstairs to put on make-up, do my hair, change my outfit, etc.
Since we are forced with a daily encounter, the room is now a constant reminder. Now we keep the door closed. The room has no purpose for us now except to be a reminder of what we hoped for, and what we may or may not ever achieve. And at the same time, it is a reminder of our lost 5, the 5 who were supposed to start there lives in that room. It is a reminder of so many things.
It has been suggested that we repurpose the room, or at least repaint in the short term. But, so far that’s isn’t an option for us. First, because we have a big house, and we truly cannot think of an alternate use for the room. I kid you not, we have no idea what to put into that room (pun not intended, although rather fitting). Second, even if we did have an alternate use for the room, for me, painting it and changing would signify that we have given up. And, as of today, we have not given up hope, not yet at least. So for now, the room stays. The room will continue to be both a reminder of what we have endured and a reminder of what we continue to hope for.
In addition to changing the room, it has even been suggested that we sell the house, and leave behind our giant reminder. But, this too, is not an option right now. First, we spent a lot of money on this house, and it would make no financial sense to move right now. As the ever pragmatic and practical people that we are, we would never make such an important decision based on an emotional response. Second, we just aren’t ready to call this adventure done and give up home.
If we end this journey without a child(ren) then the room may change. We may paint it. Or, heck, we might even sell the house! But for regardless of how this adventure ends, our house is our home with or without kids because it is what we choose to make of it. And, I know for certain, we will always choose to fill our house with laughter and love.
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