by Kerry Costanzo
It seems that the time has come. After nine years, our little house must be tired. Tired and busting at the seams. Its walls scream out in pain from being hit one too many times with soccer balls. The doors could use a break from being slammed by little children coming inside for repeated drinks of water.
Our little Colonial-style home, roughly 1200 square feet, has been good to us, even if our seven children haven’t always returned the favor.
The Walls are Closing In
It has given us nine years of faithful service, but we have started to feel its size more and more. The walls seem to be squeezing in on us, and now we think it is time to attempt the frightening and stressful endeavor of moving. When we bought the house, we had two children, and now we have seven. . . and we could really use more space. Furthermore, my husband really needs to be closer to his place of employment.
The prospect of moving is always overwhelming and stressful, and trying to meet that challenge while caring for seven children is daunting, to say the least. Not to mention how the whole experience of trying to sell a home and move into a new one will affect our homeschooling. Yet, it seems like it might be the right time. As my best friend advised me, “Now is the time! If you are pregnant next year, you’ll be too sick and tired!” She’s right.
If God blesses us with number eight, the morning sickness and fatigue would most likely send me to the couch once more, and I definitely wouldn’t feel up to the challenge. So, it seems that perhaps it’s the time to take the leap. It’s scary, overwhelming, and exciting all at the same time.
Getting a Face-lift
The first big dilemma we face is how to make our home look appealing to a prospective buyer. Hmmm. . . did I mention that our seven children have not been good to the house? We’re talking walls that need much more than a run-over with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
We need the whole staff from Lowe’s to come stay with us for a month (but we wouldn’t have the room. . .they would have to sleep in the backyard). We’re dealing with corners where walls meet that are missing huge chunks out of them. We need gallon-sized tubs of spackle, not to mention the skills and the time to do it all. . . and all this with seven pairs of little eyes staring at us, wanting to join in on the “fun.”
Our children seem to always want to do everything that Mommy and Daddy are doing, and so I envision our two-year-old son’s chubby little hands reaching out to grab paint rollers, as he exclaims, “ Me help! Me help paint!”
Then there are other jobs. . . like power-washing the house. Okay, so I admit my house looks run-down. I know there are spider webs that should have been taken down, and the vinyl siding is not bright white like it should be. When you have seven children to raise, and you are homeschooling, it can be easy to be negligent about home-improvement projects. . . at least in our case. So, that needs to be added to the list. Along with replacing all the doors, many of which are displays of our children’s writing and art skills, and some of which have been greatly abused by our boys.
In addition, the children’s bedrooms need closet doors. The girls originally had two closet doors that were mirrors, and one of them was broken years ago by a bunch of energetic children and a watermelon at a birthday party (I won’t get into any more details). So, they were both taken down, and they still have not been replaced to this day.
Show and Tell
The list goes on and on. There are baseboards to paint. There are flowers to plant. There is mulch to spread. The kitchen cabinets and counter need to be replaced. There is dusting and cleaning, sorting and organizing to do. All in the effort to appeal to the perfect buyer. It all feels so overwhelming.
Then there is the prospect of showing our house. There is the fear of someone wanting to look at my house in the middle of the homeschooling day, when the floor is littered with scraps of paper and school supplies, and the sink is full of dirty dishes.
Yet, as a Catholic, I have hope. I know that, if it is God’s will, He will make this happen for our family. Our prayers are ascending to St. Joseph. My best friend has loaned us a statue of him to bury in our yard, and we are praying for his intercession.
In the end, it may take a miracle for someone to buy our house, but miracles happen every day! I can console myself with knowing that, if it is not God’s will that we move right now, He will provide for our needs in another way.
I admit our house isn’t gorgeous. It looks well loved and abused all at the same time. Yet, maybe just the right buyers will see something in it that others can’t see. Maybe the toys on the floor, and the marks on the walls, and the imperfection of it all will speak to them of the fact that this house is a home.
Since we moved in nine years ago with our two girls, it has welcomed five more babies, a new dog, and friends and relatives who have come to visit. It has served as a warm shelter on cold winter nights, and a cool relief for the children from hot summer days spent playing outside. It has shielded us from heavy storms, and served as a refuge from a world that can sometimes be cruel and unfriendly. It has housed a little classroom where the children have learned to read and write, and memorize their catechism.
Yes, our house has been a home, our domestic church, and that gives it its own special value. Hopefully, just the right buyers will feel that way about it, too.
St. Joseph, pray for us!