Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Tiny House

My parents still live in the same house where I grew up. I went there a couple weeks ago and my dad was showing me that they got new shingles on the roof. I stood near the road and admired the new roof and could not believe how tiny that house looks to me now. Seriously... it is one of those very tiny houses built in the early 1950's for the parents of the baby boom. A kitchen, a bathroom, a family room, two tiny bedrooms, and a one-car garage that was later consumed into the house for a small dining room and extra bath/laundry room. The people who owned it before my parents also divided the family room in half with a hollow wall so there could be an extra bedroom. Just a very few, few very tiny rooms.

I never knew I grew up in a tiny house until I was in high school and visited the palatial houses of friends of friends. These were houses with mud rooms and his-and-hers offices and work-out rooms and dens and studios and craft rooms and at least three guest rooms and rooms that no one ever used yet were still adorned with beautiful matching furniture. It was then I knew that I grew up in a tiny house. But I think that at some level even then, through my well-concealed embarrassment, I knew that growing up in a tiny house with love was better than growing up in any-size house with expectations and family secrets and agendas instead of love.

My parents house is made of brick and has red sidewalks. I'm not sure who thought red sidewalks were a good idea, but that is one of the main things I remember of the exterior of that house. I'm have no idea where it is now, but I can see the photo in my mind. My sister Tiffiny and I are sitting in the grass, both wearing halos made of white clover, and my knees are red. Partly from the scabs and partly from the stain the sidewalk left when I fell on it and caused the scabs. Red sidewalks are a terrible idea, but will always mean childhood and skinned knees in my mind.

Why am I rambling about tiny houses and red sidewalks? I really meant for this post to be about my family. My family can drive me completely crazy, but there is nothing like a good hug from my dad or a long talk with my mom. With Thanksgiving coming up, I've been thinking about the things that make me feel thankful. I think I'm thankful for many of the same things other Americans are thankful for, like freedom and my job and food and a home to live in. But one of the things I'm most thankful for is my family.... certainly Ryan and the boys, but also my sisters and my parents and the love I knew growing up. That is not something everyone had and I am so thankful it is something I experienced when I was younger and still know today. Despite how tiny the house is I grew up in.

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