A few posts back, I claimed our house is "bigger than it needs to be." This, of course, is completely open to interpretation.
It is not especially large by American standards. I am always finding myself in homes larger than ours. Not in the way I once found myself in someone else's house because it looked like mine and I accidentally walked in and wondered who had moved the stairs. More like people invite me over and I find myself looking for a bathroom and wondering if there is a kiosk with a site map.
The family who lived here before us had ten kids. Those kids had friends, and as a result, nearly every person in town has been to our house. One person remembers ice skating on the pond across the street. Another used to climb the tree next to the house and sit on the roof. I hear stories all the time. So really, there were 10 kids living here, but from the sound of it, there were 30 or so people milling around at any given time. I want to go hug the mom.
It would be interesting to have a time lapse video of the house over a few generations. I picture people spilling out of it, in bell-bottoms and halter tops, and then skinny jeans and skinny ties. Many would be carrying guitars. Some would be sitting on the roof.
And the house would have a contented look on its face. It whispers to people "come! stay!" It gives them a beanbag chair or a hammock or an air mattress and tells them to be comfortable. It is always looking for more.
Because our kids can't share one little bedroom forever, we think about what we will do in the future. We don't worry about it now, because honestly? If we put them in their own big rooms, we'd find them every morning, holed up in the little bedroom. It's close to us. They're close to each other. It's much friendlier than having their own rooms.
So, it's not time yet, but on down the road, we have a game plan. A plan in which everyone has their own room and our laptops come off the coffee table and move into a real office.
The words sound lonely as I type them. It feels empty and too spread out. I can't picture it now, because my kids don't have their own friends, coming and going like picnic ants. But they will, soon enough. The time lapse film will continue for another generation, with various cars in the driveway and a host of new faces appearing in the windows.
I don't think the house would allow it to be any other way. I know this because the Upstairs Neighbors are not home and, despite the presence of a band in the basement last night, the house is beginning to fret. It's quiet, and a little sulky.
It sends subliminal postcards to our out of state families, inviting them to come for a visit. It whispers to Lucy "make cookies for the band." It makes unexpected new friends and invites them over. "Here," it says, "have a bean bag chair."