Big love grows in small spaces

By Published On: December 7th, 2015

Twelve of my favorite people gathered in my parents’ 2bd/1ba […]

IMG_5083Twelve of my favorite people gathered in my parents’ 2bd/1ba home for Thanksgiving. No spacious rooms or vaulted ceilings at mama’s, and so we all got sticky as bodies lingered and turkeys cooked.
The 2015 feast might be my favorite Thanksgiving of all time, ever ever. Not simply for the lack of space, of course, but because of how much I loved filling that bitty house with laughter and, quite literally, thanksgiving. There was zero chance of privacy or personal space, and so the people I love most huddled together—waiting for bathrooms, setting tables, passing gravy and playing Scrabble—and got to do what we do best: make jokes and love on one another.
The love and laughter even made up for the lack of air conditioning. Have you ever heard anyone say that before? Probably not, but I truly feel that way … and, ya know, the uber-hot conditions definitely helped us make memories: sneaking cookies outside to catch a breeze, forgoing sweaters for breathable tees and passing the bag of ice to and fro.
The turkey is being put into the fridge for weekend sandwiches, and I’m sitting here writing and hoping to remember this day always. Thing is, my heart is even more full than my stomach (which is a feat!), and I’m wondering how to recreate similar memories for Max.
It seems that loves grow strong and wild in small houses. Bonds form when people are, for better or worse, forced to share modest spaces. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve ever created a private fort inside your shared bedroom and then found your sister cuddling against you in the morning. Sure, you were only a bedsheet away … but she’s used to being together, so she snuck inside. Or perhaps you only had one TV in your home? That was the case for us, so I watched “Ninja Turtles” with my brother and then he watched “My Little Pony” with me. The TV situation taught us how to compromise, and it prepped us for a lifetime of jokes about why Sam (my brother) knows so much about Rainbow Dash and Pinky Pie.
Lately, life feels like an episode of “House Hunters.” Jon and I cruise around Minneapolis looking at houses, and our conversations about whether we want “a charming home within our ideal neighborhood” or “a spacious remodel miles from the city center” make us feel like TV characters. Space sounds so, so good … and it’s a surefire way to make my Pinterest boards a reality. Just imagine: a man-cave for entertaining and watching sports, a gorgeous kitchen for hosting dinner parties and enjoying family dinners and a guestroom for visiting in-laws and college friends. A little space for every occasion and person.
In theory, it all sounds lovely … but I’m typing this in my itty-bitty city apartment right now, and what truly fills my heart is seeing my husband across the table (we don’t have an office) and my baby boy bouncing below us (you guessed it—no playroom either). Should I summarize by saying that I value relationships over square footage? Or perhaps there is an equation here. Maybe I get the 5bd/5ba home, but I invite 30 people instead of 12? That actually sounds quite nice: room for even more laughter, compromise and (I have to say it, people) love.
Now I’ve just gotta decide: colonial or craftsmen? I can do that on my own, but a big ol’ thank you for letting me muse about family and home and creating memories with space. Oh, and you know what else I’ve decided as I typed my way down down down (614 words to be exact)? I’m hosting Thanksgiving next year, and I’m inviting just about everyone. Hungry? Come on over, but be prepared to fight for space.