I moved out of my childhood home and into a 2-bedroom, 1-bath, rat and cockroach-infested trailer, but for a boy working his way into manhood, the 2-bedroom, 1-bath, rat and cockroach-infested trailer seemed better than a 3,000-square-foot ranch with parents. The space was tight, but I settled in and prepared for life.
I soon met a 19-year-old with a beautiful smile and form-fitting Daisy Dukes and fell in love. I needed more space. A 3-bedroom, 2-bath mobile home seemed larger than any two people deserved, but we made the best of it and began life together.
Then a year or two later, she says to me, “I’m going to have a baby,” and the space gets smaller. You make things work, and you move forward, and then one day, she says again, “I’m going to have another baby,” and the space gets smaller still. The years pass quickly; the walls close in; and you decide it’s time to bite the bullet and build a house.
A 3-bedroom, 2-bath house with an unfinished half-basement and a bathroom downstairs is all the space four people could ever need, so you settle in to raise your children, and life is good. And then one day, you hear the all-too-familiar words: “I’m going to have another baby,” and your house gets just a little smaller. But all is well; you do what you have to do and just keep pluggin’ away until, again, she says (this time with an appendage): “I’m going to have another baby, and you’re going to have a vasectomy.” A wise man knows when it’s best to just say, “Yes, Dear,” and you move on.
The years pass quickly, and soon, almost unexpectedly, your children do what children a suppose to do and grow up. They begin to leave for college or careers, in search of their own 2-bedroom, 1-bath trailer without parents, and your house grows large again. Then Daisy Dukes decides she’s tired of farm life and needs her own space, and your house grows larger still. In time, you’re o.k. with all this. People grow up and grow apart; things change; life moves on, and all is well.
Then slowly, over time, a wonderful thing happens. Those children who you nurtured and loved, disciplined and supported, the ones who moved away, begin to come back home—not to say, but to visit. This time they bring a spouse and a crazy dog, and then a spouse and a crazy dog and a baby, and then another baby, and your house becomes wonderfully small again. So you look at that unfinished space downstairs. You clean and you paint; you hang a ceiling fan and add a flat-screen; you throw in a couple of beds and finish the bathroom; and then you secretively hope and quietly dare them to make your house small again.