It was a very meek beginning when we started out as two college kids expecting a family right away.
We pooled together some second-hand furniture with the help of our parents. We filled up our tiny kitchen with contributions from the ladies in town at my church shower. Door knobs were missing off of doors and light fixtures were old and rusty. It was a small three bedroom house my husband's parents had bought when they first married. There was a chain link fence in the backyard and three pretty oaks Clay's father had planted before he was born.
The house was in an old neighborhood off of Sherwood Forest inBaton Rouge and it was no time before we saved up enough money to purchase wood from my grandmother's hardware store to build a tiny rectangle deck on the back yard just outside the back door.
Within three years we had two toddlers, a metal swing set purchased by my mother-in-law, a square coal burning grille and a portable CD player. We lived on about $1000 a month before the first bill was paid, and the highlight of our weekend was going to the grocery store and buying ground meat and leg quarters, potatoes, charcoal, a six pack of beer, packets of Kool Aid, and four cans of vegetables for a dollar.
We would then go over to the local movie rental store and pick out a movie for us after the littles went to sleep and a movie for them. The grille would be lit while the boys played on the slide and Clay played a CD on our little deck shaded by the trees planted long before any of us had arrived.
We talked to our friends who had not settled down yet. They were off to college football games, trips to the beach, and weekend parties. And there were a lot of days our lives felt pretty routine and boring as we occasionally hit unforeseen bills on a shoe-string budget. We would talk about the future that seemed light years away. I wanted a white house with blue shudders and hydrangeas in a big yard. Clay wanted a big bathroom and master bedroom. I wanted a picket fence and he wanted a TV in every room and a nice truck.
The two of us never really coveted what anyone else had that we did not, but we would lose wind in our sails from time to time as the struggle became more and more real with a family that grew in four years from two to six.
I have been thinking about those years over three decades ago quite a bit lately as the world seems to be in fear and frenzy of shortages and delivery dates cancelled and pushed back. People are panicking about what the seasonal shopping days will look like. Grocery prices have jumped up along with inflation hitting in other areas.
The other day I whipped into my driveway after a very long day of work in the educational system that is being hit hard with one storm after another. When I pushed the little button on my Cadillac to stop the engine, I looked up at my house. The fourth and final house we will live in. I startled myself when I realized I was looking at a newly remodeled version of that home we had whispered about at night after the children were fast asleep in that old home in Baton Rouge. I was looking at a white farm house with blue shudders, hydrangeas and azaleas with touches of gardenias and ferns. I was about to walk into a home with two master bedrooms and master baths with a TV in each room, and soon that new white truck that Clay loves would be pulling in behind me.
And in all the hard work it has taken. And all the tears shed and goals achieved with all those little boys grown up, some of my sweetest memories that flood my heart still are the sound of Eagles playing on that tiny deck as hamburgers sizzled and little boys squealed as I pushed them on their swings. Sometimes, or more times than not, less can be infinite!