Old House, New House

Today I have a guest post from a blogger whom I have been following for a while. No, I don’t mean in the stalker way. That blogger is Jessie Clemence, a talented writer. I look forward to her posts as her range of topics is so diverse. However, she often comes back to sharing bits of her odd self.

Jessie blogs from southwestern Michigan, where she lives with her husband and two children. She writes about parenting, marriage, and faith, all from a slightly nutty perspective. She has written a book on motherhood and faith titled There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse, which will be released on March 2, 2013.

When our daughter was a baby, my husband and I bought our first house. The three of us moved into the tiny little farmhouse and were happy as clams for several years. Never mind that the washer and dryer were in the kitchen, European-style. Never mind that the basement was perfect for a horror movie, or that the stairs wound upward in a spiral, too tight to fit much furniture and terribly dangerous for toddlers. We made it work. We even had our second child and tucked him into the cozy space with us. Really, babies don’t need much space. Their clothes are tiny, they have itty-bitty shoes, and they are happy to snatch all the toys their siblings already own.
But when our son turned about four, things became overwhelming. Suddenly he had big versions of everything his sister already had. We found ourselves with multiple pairs of snow boots, snow pants, and winter coats. Toys spilled out of tiny bedrooms and covered the living room floor. Books covered every horizontal surface. Our stuff, even the stuff we needed to live, was smothering us. The children grew physically, and their friends with them. Having a group of kids over was like trying to fit a pack of dinosaurs into an elementary gymnasium. The floor shook, and the walls vibrated.
We hit our limit this past summer and made drastic plans. We had a new house built and rented out the old one. I am deeply grateful for every inch of this new house. The lovely basement has carpet, sun-filled windows, and space to shoo the children when they get rambunctious. We can have a sleepover for ten girls with room to spare if I ever get up my nerve for such a thing. A bubble of giddiness wells up every time I go to the utility room with a load of laundry. I no longer have to worry that the cookies will be infected by dirty socks somehow.
And yet, there are things about our tiny old house that sneak up and surprise me with longing. I miss the way the cement of the front porch felt on my bare feet when the summer sun warmed it up. I miss the bathroom window that I used to crack open for fresh air, even in the cold of January. Come spring, I will long for the beautiful, fertile dirt of my old flower gardens. I lived with those small blessings for so long that they worked their way into me somehow, and now I find myself without them.
Well, I guess I’m not really without them. I can still remember what they felt like, and being thankful to have experienced them means I still have them in some fashion. And I know that as I live in this new house over the years I will grow attached to it. I will work the dirt, I will feel the fresh air through the windows, and it too will become part of me. I pray my heart will always be tender enough to let new things become a part of me, and grateful for the things that are already there.

11 thoughts on “Old House, New House

  1. So sweet! I have the same joyful reflections about my apartment, my son and I spent 9 years there, and while it was small enough to fit in 1/3 of our current house, it was perfect for us at the time, and I’m glad to have had that experience!

  2. Hi,

    Change is always difficult, at least it is for me. Like you, I know when it is time to move on, and I do it, but not after looking at what I have and saying goodbye to it. I know I will adapt to the new. I know also that I don’t want to turn back, but it is that getting used to the new that causes butterflies in my stomach, until the new has become a part of me.

    I enjoyed reading your article.


    • Yes, it was a nice piece. She seems to be enjoying the new house but also misses some of what made the old house special too.

  3. I have the old house and have a blog percolating about its hazards. Some day I would LOVE to blog about the new house.

    Great post! Larry, you are friends with the best bloggers!

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