“Home is the nicest word there is.”
~Laura Ingalls Wilder
Hanging on the wall in our guest bathroom is this simple quote painted in white on a rustic wood canvas. It captures the essence of my life. I have spent a lot of energy nesting and striving to create the environment my family can affectionately call home. For some, this happens a few times over the course of their whole lifetime. For those of us who have moved often, and can count on two hands the number of houses they have purchased, the idea of “home, sweet, home” takes on new meaning. What I learned along this nomadic journey is that wherever we were we had each other. Our family. Our pets. Our stuff. Each new roof over our heads may have been in a different zip code (starting with a new first digit). But as soon as the moving van rolled in with our familiar furniture and belongings my nesting began. The warm homey feeling typically set in once a family meal was shared at our round oak table followed by the the kids being tucked into their beds made with recognizable comforters. Even though the whole house was littered with unopened brown cardboard moving boxes (labeled vaguely: kitchen stuff or family room), we were home.
The true story is that I bought this Laura Ingalls home quote piece of art a year ago without deep thought as I was attempting to make our empty house more appealing to buyers. We were moving. Again. This move, however, was different than any prior relocation. It was not due to any career change, or where we were pulling our children out of schools and a community they knew and loved. No, this move was the first time we made the conscious decision to change for the sake of change. We lived 11 years in that house. The idea of looking on real estate websites surfaced when our empty nester life began, and when our travels for college football games slowed down. It became fun to search for the homes that opened doors to new ideas, such as city life or a house in the country with acreage and animals.
Right at about this time, in early 2020, Koda and Summer were pushing the limits of their boundaries here in the suburbs. They ran the fence and barked excitedly at every single passerby. They even hopped the fence a time or two. A neighbor complained (to the police). Then I saw it! Right there on my computer screen! The house! It was different than any place we had ever lived. The inside had all the details I’d longed for over the years: a gleaming kitchen with white cabinets, a first floor master bedroom, and a large living room with a wall of windows overlooking pastures. Green grassy fields with fences. The dogs would be in heaven! No neighbor close by to complain! This Mamabear was so excited envisioning the aussiedoodles bounding across the expansive yard with their ears flying in the wind. Then the real estate agent showed us the barn out back, and the beautiful brown gelding quarter horse that conveyed! Kip was a 20 year old rescue that grazed happily out in the pasture. Even my fear of horses did not keep me from considering this life changing move to the country. Just a thirty minute drive from our old neighborhood, we would still be able to keep friends, play tennis, see our same doctors and vets. It felt too good to be true.
Here we are, a year later, I am sitting on the sofa in front of the wall of windows looking out on the green pastures. I started my day by feeding and grooming Kip and Smoke (more on him later) while Koda and Summer ran the fence and barked into the clean country air. Sansa and Ruger (more on him later) are each snuggled into their favorite napping spots on the cat trees. This is home. I agree with Laura Ingalls Wilder when Pa asked her how she liked her new room in the little house in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, “Home is the nicest word there is.”
Note: our previous house sold in one weekend, with an offer placed on day one. I hope the new family finds happiness in their new home.