I believe… I believe… It’s silly, but I believe.

maybe this house
illustrative flair by my mother

I shouldn’t be writing about this now. It’s too soon and there is nothing to say. Except there is something to share, which is oddly different from something to say.

I want to buy a house.

It took me a very long time to type that.

Of course this isn’t an abstract situation, there is a specific house. It has bedrooms and bathrooms and room for my desk. There is a backyard and a front porch. There is public transit close enough for Mother to easily and safely get to work. It is in the school district that I love. It’s old and affordable and after looking at rentals for nearly a year it ends up being significantly less, per month, than any house we would be able to find to rent.

There are logistics and hurdles and phone calls and emails and moments where the music swells and I am so ridiculously hopeful. The bottom line, the pragmatic line, is that it will either be able to happen or it won’t be able to happen. Our family will be ok one way or the other. I have a plan in place for W for school, we are no longer in a super rush to move, the edge is no longer so sharp.

But there’s this house. I would like it very much.

Four years ago we were homeless. Three years ago we moved to the Philadelphia area to turn our corner. Mother has had great success and happiness at her job and I have found two different creative jobs that have launched us out of needing to depend on assistance and in a place where we could save.

My goal, because it is what I have wanted my entire life, is to put roots down. I want nothing more than to live in a community and grow within it for years. I want W to experience going to the same school for more than two consecutive years. I want to have and create a home in every sense of the word.

I can’t remember much about any of the apartments or rental homes I lived in when I was growing up. I know there was day-glow floral wallpaper in my bedroom in one of the homes in Florida. I know there was a pool at an apartment in another town in Florida. I remember being near the stadium in Alabama. I remember painting a bedroom peach. Go ahead and ask me the names of the streets I lived on. I can’t tell you.

I can tell you what coming home felt like though. Home was my grandparent’s house. I can tell you the phone number for the house my grandparents lived in for nearly 40 years. I can draw you a map of the walk-in pantry. I can close my eyes and remember the sounds and smells. That feeling is more than family, that feeling is being familiar. I never doubted I was loved during my nomadic childhood, but I pined for stillness.

I say all of this knowing full well that it is dangerous to have emotions about houses. So I will say I don’t have these feelings just about THIS house, but about having a home in general. There is something broken within me and I want to fix it with a home. I want to unpack my life and live. I am ready.

I don’t know what happens next, all I know is that I am crossing fingers and hoping and visualizing. I want to make this happen. I finally got to the place where I realized I needed to sit down and write through it because I could wake up tomorrow and the house could be gone, but these feelings are griping my shoulders and looking into my eyes and I am facing them.


  1. Shannon says

    We moved all over when I was little…my Grandparents’ home was “home” to me. Even now, when someone asks where I’m from, I automatically say the town that my Grandparents lived in. I’m hoping and praying that you get YOUR house to make a home :)

  2. Val says

    Good luck. I hope your dream comes true. I remember buying my first home. It was a condo – that was my style, but I also owned it. I’m on my 2nd in a different city due to a job. I do remember the address of my first home. I doubt I’ll ever forget it. It had a 2′ sunken living room with horrible dyed brown carpet that had once been burnt orange. I tore out the carpet less than 6 months before I moved. I was so proud I finally could afford to remodel. I bought the exact same carpet shortly after moving into my new condo (Faded Denim was the name of the color).

  3. says

    so very exciting. supporting your wish to the universe and hoping you make it so. love this: “I want to unpack my life and live. I am ready.”

  4. says

    I believe in the power of positive thinking! The fact that so many amazing things have happened to you in the past few years means that there’s nothing that you can’t do. I know you’ll put roots down in a house of your own soon!

  5. says

    We moved all over also, so I don’t have someplace I grew up that I consider “home.” I really want that for my kids also. We are homeowners so I hope to be able to stay here for a long time. I will have my fingers and toes crossed that this [or another] house works out for you guys very soon. :)

  6. Cora says

    I know that nomadic feeling so well! I hope that you are able to get this home or another like it. Putting down roots allows you to breathe deeper and relax more. You all deserve that.

  7. Alexicographer says

    Crossing my fingers for you. I relate. Having a home base is a good thing, at least, that’s how it feels to me.

  8. says

    I hope this happens for you! And I love the movie reference in the title. It’s my favorite Christmas movie (the original, of course). I grew up in a little run-down shack and home ownership is one of my greatest achievements. So hope this happens for you and your family!!

  9. says

    Wishing you the best of luck! My husband and I bought our first house two years ago, after spending our twenties and most of our thirties living the nomadic life. My husband’s family lives here (in Buffalo, NY), and my husband will probably taking over the family business. It’s comforting yet strange to know where my “permanent” roots are, after living in so many cities and states.

  10. Rachel says

    My parents still live in the house I grew up in. No matter how many different places I lived in Tuscaloosa during college, none of them were ever “home.”

    I can walk down the rickety basement stairs in my parents’ house with my eyes closed and not die. I know the 1920’s era architectural imperfections so well that I wouldn’t even stumble. I can find light switches in the dark, skip the creaky floorboards that told my secrets in high school. I know just how far I can pull out the kitchen drawers before they slip out of the cabinets and crush my foot. The little things about that house, with its one bathroom and its obscenely small kitchen and its gratuitously high ceilings, are the landscape of my childhood.

    When we were kids, my brother and I used to close all the doors on the windowless hallway and play tag in the pitch darkness. Your post made me think of it, clear as if it happened yesterday. I wish everyone could have those kinds of memories. Good luck with the house. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

  11. says

    I totally get why you feel the way you do… A childhood of living here and there made me feel exactly the same way. You will get there and you will make it your own. Such a great goal to have. I wish you every luck in the world with this I really do. Something tells me you’ll be just fine. xxx

  12. says

    Best wishes. I hope it all works out. You guys have been through so much–you deserve this. But if this doesn’t work out, I know you will persevere.

  13. says

    Good luck, Dresden! Even if you don’t get this house, remember that you will find the right one. We went through the ringer with five others before we got the one we own now and it beats all the others hands down!

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