Back when I was a young idealistic teacher, I talked to my students a lot about this mythical place I wanted to live someday -- a little house in the woods, filled with books, dogs and maybe children. There would be a garden out in the back full of my favorite flowers, and a porch with a swing where I could sit with those dogs and kids and read the books. There was also a window seat with lots of cozy pillows, I guess for when it was too cold outside to sit on the swing. I'd always be having deep conversations with the friends that stopped casually by for the tea I always seemed to be drinking. The point of this story was usually aimed at helping my students write better and with more detail, but really it was about teaching them to have dreams about where they wanted to be someday, no matter how big or small that dream was.
I never really thought I'd get that house in the woods, because let's face it, who's going to traipse through the woods to drop by, and I'm too attached to my grocery store to live that far away from civilization. But the other day, my husband and I discovered an unintended benefit of the backup camera on our minivan (what does this tell you about the life I've ended up living??) It lights up our dark driveway when we back down it at night. I said something like "yeah, since we live in this deep dark hole in the woods..." My husband then threatened me with the idea of moving, which is always guaranteed to get me to stop complaining about our house, yard, and/or neighborhood, because he knows the thought of packing anything practically makes me vomit, much less putting everything I own into boxes. So, no more talk of the lack of street lights, sidewalks, neighborhood pool and young families for me.
The truth is, my home is quite similar to that mythical place in the woods -- we have mature trees on three sides of our house including an enormous oak, a family of deer that often passes by (my son and I chased Bambi and his mom all the way down our street on a walk one day, with him shouting "come back here, we have to rescue you!"), and the calm quiet of a house as isolated as you can be smack in the middle of the suburbs. I can't grow any of the flowers I want (too many trees), my son doesn't really have much of a yard to play in, (too many trees and a hill down into a creek), and I don't have a swing (no front porch). But, there are bookshelves in every room except the bathrooms. And while we only have one dog, there are now two children that provide deep conversations over tea and apple juice every day. I'll have to start recognizing that this small world I'm living in is the one I asked for, after all.