Within These Walls


I curl up in bed at night with my fluffy IKEA clearance bin comforter and a half-read library book, the sounds of my husband tapping away on his work tablet in the living room and my daughters' sleepy thick breathing comforting me, like a solid rain pummeling our old window panes.

In the gray early mornings, I hear my daughters whispering in their bedroom to one another to "not wake mommy and daddy yet." This sweetness makes me want to rush to them and also savor the few extra minutes their gentle hearts have granted us. Soon after, we gather on the couch, wrapped in an old afghan, teapot chattering as the boil builds and steam rises. Kirk and I often lean against our old gas range, coffee mugs in hand, planning for the day while the girls dance and twirl in the living room.

When you live in a small house there is no escaping the noises that everyone makes; it becomes a soundtrack of its own, one that measures out the rhythm of our days. We are only ever steps away from each other and there is very little privacy or true alone time to be had. Even when I am working with my bedroom door shut, the sounds of my family still trickle in, reminding me that I am always here, always home.

Perhaps there is an oddness in craving this closeness, to revel in these tiny spaces. And of course, there are moments, sometimes days, when I wish to be alone, somewhere completely silent. But those moments are rare.

Through this experiment of living in a 675 square foot house (which is luxurious compared to many parts of the world, I know) I've found that these physical limitations make my gratitude stronger. Rather than resenting the size of our home, I revel in the gift of closeness. Rather than wishing for my privacy, I am learning to connect more deeply to my family. And rather than hoping for nicer things to fill our spaces, I'm choosing gratitude for what we already own.

How will the cadence and rhythm of our home change when our baby joins us? What will our little home sound like with two littles underfoot and a baby in arms? 

Tonight as I type these words and listen to the croupy cough of my oldest daughter, I am grateful that I can reach her quickly, just a handful of steps until I'm at her bedside with a glass of water and a tucking of her blankets. Someday when my children are grown and much farther away than the width of a little house, I'll look back on how our family bond grew and love spilled over within these walls, and I'll give thanks.