This photo was taken on the grounds of the college where my parents met, married and had ME… nothing else matters, just that I was Born in this beautiful place, surrounded by gorgeous trees and water features. Just kidding. I am not that kind of girl, but seriously the water and the trees…Swoon… it’s my favorite kind of landscape. Its where Hubby and I want to retire…not the school itself but somewhere in the woods… thats where we will have our Retirement House.
Every Military family has dreams of their “Retirement House.” Its a lot like the Civilian equivalent of the “Dream Home” but it also captures notions of familiarity and stability. I have been planning my retirement home from about the time I married my husband…at 22. It’s not totally weird, he joined right out of high school and so 20 years later he will be in his late 30’s…that’s only a few years from now. Retirement means that I can go after my passions without fearing a change halfway through a project. It means that we can paint, renovate and buy furniture that won’t be scratched or ruined in 2 years. I can choose to go after a PhD and not have to warn them on my application that I may leave before I complete even the course portion of it. For someone who has struggled with keeping my own identity in the land of “dependents” status, the promise that he may be referred to as MY husband and not I as HIS wife has me mentally doing cartwheels! – Not real ones, I’m not coordinated enough for that and I might break a bone mid-spaz out.
Any way, back to these visions of grandeur… I have watched way too much HGTV in the past then can possibly be good for me and while in my head I know this probably isn’t cheap or easy the heart wants what the heart wants!
Grab a cup of tea or coffee and envision this paradise with me…
I have these visions of a simple life, in the countryside. Surrounded by ancient trees, a creek or lake nearby and enough room for a studio and Library for me and some sort of Workshop or Forge for my husband. Chickens and goats will roam the yard while our neglected garden grows wild. I don’t need a huge house or even a new one. I don’t even want a new one. A repurposed barn or livable farmhouse from another time will do wonderfully. Rope swings and tree houses adorn the oldest and closest trees. Where my son can tinker and explore chemistry as much as he wants without fear of an HOA. Where my daughters can play with photography or read a book or scale the tallest tree. Will it ever happen? I don’t know. One day we will be able to lay down these roots that are yearning for dirt. I am ready for some roots.
I have never lived in any house, in my entire life, for more than 2 years. I have never seen a tree grow over time. There is not a single doorframe somewhere with my childhood measurements etched into the door frame. I have never lived in a place where “everybody knows your name” and most places I’m lucky to know a handful of people before moving time hits again. I have been raised, and am now raising my children, in a lifestyle filled with concrete brick homes with military beige walls and carpet or linoleum. So much uniformity that they make cookie cutter communities look like self expression! Where until recently moving out required a white glove inspection of your property to include cleaning the inside gutter of all window frames on the outside. I love the drifter life and I still want to travel the world, visit strange places and befriend different people…visit, travel, live for short periods but at the end of it all I want somewhere familiar to return to.
A place to hold my rows upon rows of ragged edged books that smell like heaven. My dragon and sword fighting fantasy tales filled with magic and folklore. My space adventures and time travel that stretches my mind and tests my gullibility. My treaties on War, politics and political theory that sit yellowed and falling apart in all of my favorite parts. My beautiful classics that challenge the wills of genres and time, ensnaring their readers with profound concepts and delicately spun words. My treasure trove of Children’s Lit that tackles the tough subjects with grace and poise.
A place where imagination is valued and treasured. Where Science fiction and fantasy shows stream through television sets. A place where Disney, Anime, Superheroes and Super Villains dominate the atmosphere. Where paints and pencils find homes scattered across end tables. Where you can find a half used notebook in every room waiting for voices to make themselves known via the scribbles that litter the page. Where the door is always open to guests and those with a need.
To be a part of a community, to befriend neighbors and settle into a church as a member, not just a visitor/attender. No longer needing to change dentists and doctors every 4-6 appointments.
I love that I have friends throughout the globe, forever friendships forged through the fire of deployments, work ups and change. I am proud to support, proud to be a part of it, proud to be a daughter and wife. I am not going to lie, up until about 6 months ago I was on the fence about joining myself. Switching places with my husband, where I work full time out of the home and he home schools our children. I’ve gone so far as to talk to recruiters and plan out the feasibility of it all. But it is not my calling. This is. Creating this lifestyle for our family. Facilitating and welcoming all who walk through my door. To one day open our hearts and doors to youth in need. To create a place of reprieve from the weariness of the world, filled with Christ’s love and grace for all. To not only have a future but to also one day have a past. A history that we can be a part of writing.
Where “Welcome Home” is more than just a sign or door mat.
Can I pretend this is my “Retirement house?”
*** Update: We have our dream. Well, kind of. We have a home and it is ours. It is exactly what we need, exactly where we need it. There are old trees and a small creek behind us but it is not the farmyard or rural existence that we originally dreamed of. It’s in an older neighborhood on a tree lined street with the sweetest neighbors we could possibly have though still very near all of the treasures of city life as well. Art supplies, bookshelves, and my paint choices grace every room. It’s home in a way that I’ve never had before and as of this 2019, it’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one house. My children talk of bringing their children to this home for Christmas and Easter, and at least one child claims that she is never moving away, so at least in their minds this house is our home too.