Posted on November 20, 2014
Growing up, I always dreamed of the family I would have one day, and it was one very different to the one I grew up in. My mum and dad did their best, but they were respectively 43 and 51 when I was born, and my brother and sister were 21 and 19. They’d long since finished having children, and though I was certainly a “happy accident”, I think having a child so late in life was quite difficult for them. They were gregarious and social people by nature though, so I was always in company, though generally with people a lot older, who never had children my age.
In my early teens I made friends with a girl who was the eldest of 6 children. She was probably the only person that I met that was more sullen than me, so it was a match made in heaven! I used to love going to her house more than anything. While she seemed to resent the noise and chaos, and the fact she had to share her parents with so many other people, I envied it, greatly. I lit up in the company of these people. Her father was a “mad scientist”, affable and scattered, and her mother was a batshit insane artist, always covered in paint, and always quite flustered, while she tried to create as her children all fell over each other and spilled drinks, fought, and laughed – the noise level was always deafening! It was so different to my quiet existence, and I always said I would have that one day, even if I had to make it myself!
Yes, I dreamed for many years of this family, and I even had a vision of the house I would bring them up in. It wasn’t a modern McMansion, but an old house, full of history and character, like something out of The Secret Garden, or the idyllic country houses in my beloved Enid Blyton books.
Years later, I had the kids. House full of noise and chaos – check! But I never quite got the home I wanted. We started raising our family in an 11 square house that, while lovely, you couldn’t swing a cat in. By the time I had four under 5 I just couldn’t live there anymore, and bought the first huge house that Gaz and I both agreed on. With five bedrooms, a study, 3 bathrooms, 3 living areas, and an entertaining deck, it seemed perfect, though I realise now that anything “bigger” would have looked “better” to an harassed mum with one tiny living area, constantly covered in toys. We didn’t put a lot of thought into where the children would play though..with the house on a 550 sqm block with no backyard, and nowhere for children or pets to run.
Gaz and I are addicted to real estate.com and started looking at acreages a couple of years ago. We were a bit away from being able to afford one, but we’ve looked at a few properties over the years. There has always been something that one of both of us hasn’t liked about them, and not at any stage have we ever fallen in love with the same one. Not for Gaz is the English country garden, or fretwork or lead light of any description. Open fireplaces, ornate mantles, picture rails, attic bedrooms – nup, not for him. A nice, low maintenance new house, with flat acres, ready for lots of toys to be parked that is where he saw himself. Our dreams were so different, when it came to where we would eventually live, I feared we would never agree.
And technically – we still haven’t! A few months ago, I fell in love with this beautiful house built in 1910, on an acre, only a few minutes from our children’s school. I went to an open for inspection with the children, but not Gaz, and as soon as I walked in the door of this house, I knew it had to be mine. It had the lot. Fretwork, lead light, 12 foot ceilings, an attic bedroom….so much history and character that I could almost see children, 70, 80, 90 years ago, running through the rooms, in their long, lacy nighties, the sound of their laughter echoing off the walls of the wide hallway. And that thought made me happy.
I bought Gaz back to see it. I was waiting for the “you have got to be kidding me”, but it didn’t come. Yeah, I like it actually, he said. Well! That was the end of me. I went on a 3 month campaign to make it mine. Lots of calls back and forward to the agent, and from him to the vendor (as the price was more than we could afford), and lots of cross words with Gaz, who had plenty of time to think about it and decide that while he liked it, he didn’t “love” it. I wouldn’t be deterred, never have I been so certain of anything, so yesterday, our offer was accepted on this:
Yes, I am a crazy woman that takes my children to open for inspections, and photographs them in front of houses that I wish to raise them in!
So, exactly 14 days from now, I will be on the operating table, having one of the most major operations you can have. Before that, I have to get this place spick and span and decluttred, and steam cleaned, and photographed and on the market, as we cannot exchange on my dream until this house is sold.
Many people probably think the timing of this is insane, and I am some demented person, and I couldn’t agree more. But I also accept that there is never going to be a right time for me, and dreams must be chased at the earliest possible convenience. Part of me says to myself “but this is madness, what if you die?” But the other voice, the louder one says “oh my goodness, but what if you LIVE”. And that’s what I intend to do. Because once upon a time, a little girl dreamed of lots of children, running through an old house, with lots of room outside, and trees to climb, and fresh air to breathe, and this, well, this is it.
This is my happily ever after.