Let me tell you about my dream house.
It’s not the Pinterest-worthy, Chip & Joanna, monochromatic modern farmhouse we just spent the weekend moving into. It’s the not the cliche small-town-girl-moves-to-Nashville-says-if-she-ever-has-a-hit-she’ll-build-a-house-in-her-hometown-and-then-does one. It’s not the one where we actually share a lot with my parents. It’s not where my kids wake up everyday and run next door in their jammies to Mimi & Papa’s while my husband and I sip coffee across the street from where I learned to play softball. And it’s definitely not the one where everything is perfectly black and white with a kiss of gold and sprinkled with fireworks every 4th of July. Nope. That house is all things dreamy. But it’s NOT my dream house.
A lot of people have graciously followed along for the last year as I’ve attempted to build a 2nd home in my hometown I’ve appropriately named Glinda (in light of how I magically & quite frequently appear in Kansas - and how building a house from across the country is a witch. But the good kind, of course). And we did it. It’s done. We slept there Friday night. About 25 yards from my parents back porch. It’s straight out of a scene from This Is Us. And everyone has been hitting me up because they want to see the pictures & the perfectly curated profile of styled shelves. And I will share all that. But for some reason, it’s not the story tonight.
This story is about finding myself on the way to post office yesterday - automatically turning onto Main Street even though that’s not where Glinda is. And in an act of auto-pilot, I found myself taking the long way past the house I lived in in grade school. And in another act of auto-pilot, I found myself replaying the night before Christmas in what was probably 1993. That was the year that I had begged Santa for a Clavinova - the most beautiful stage piano an 8 or 9-year-old pianist who had never really played a nice piano before could ask for.
Just for context, at this time, I definitely knew Santa wasn’t real (thanks to my Aunt Audra who asked my mom what Santa got me right in front of me the previous Christmas! Wha wha.). But when you’re the oldest child not only are you the best… (insert wink emoji), but you have the incredible joy of playing along with the whole Santa charade for your younger sibling’s sakes for a solid decade. So, that night, in that house on Main, in the room I shared with my brother, I laid there wide awake wondering where Dad Santa hid the Clavinova he got me. I knew the logistics of 545 E. Main left very few hiding spots for something of that size, so I peeked out my bedroom window at my dad’s work truck. And sure enough, in the trailer behind, was the perfect silhouette of an electric stage piano underneath a work tarp. I squinted at it in the dark for so long, I’m pretty sure I went cross-eyed. Just imagining what it would look like in daylight. Then I jumped back in bed under the covers (bc oldest child, also big rule follower). And preceded to imagine my hands on the keys, pushing the volume slider up and down, feeling the shiny silver pedal under my bare feet in the morning.) This went on til the sun came up, when I ran out to living room Christmas morning to find…
A new coat. (insert head in hands emoji)
I’m sure I put it on and pretended that it was all I ever wanted…. and hugged my parents….And then ran over to see in broad daylight a saw horse peeking out from underneath the end of that tarp in the back of dad’s truck.
I’ll never forget that. And I’ll never forget it because I think it was right about then I was learning to think big. To long for something bigger than I could physically attain at the time. And thus began the years of recording the country countdown in that bedroom -- thousands of hours playing a piano that was NOT a Clavinova. Dreaming of who I would marry. Daydreaming if I ever would be a mom? Would I live in a big city someday? What would it be like to be a grown up?
So if that house holds my dreams. Then this new one holds my destiny. The answer to all those questions. It has the husband’s truck in the driveway. It has the 4 bare feet running up and down the hard woods. It has mirrors with the reflection of a 30-something singer/songwriter. And it has a PO Box bc, guess what, girl - you still spend most of your time in the big city you somehow made it in.
So for everyone who’s been asking, let me introduce you to my dream house:
It’s a solid two bedroom, one bath, 800 square feet with questionable mustard yellow paint. My dream house has a washer and dryer about 4 feet from the bathroom sink. And the linoleum in the kitchen peels back in the corners. And the not-a-Smeg-but-looks-like-one freezer freezes over like once a week. And so mom has to take knives and chip away the ice to make room for a frozen pizza. My dream house crams 5 people into a 2 bedroom like it ain’t no thang. And my dream house rents for about $250 a month. Yes that one. That is my dream house.