You guys, we bought a house yesterday.
Like– the big kind. That you live in. Because you own it.
We’ve been on a semi-secret house hunt since late Spring and I would be lying if I said it’s been easy.
I always thought looking for our first home would be fun. I saw us driving through charming neighborhoods, mapping out our favorite locations, and falling in love with some charming little house. A house with gabled upstairs windows. A house with steps leading up to a little porch. A house with nooks and crannies.
But wheelchairs do not appreciate stairs. And wheelchairs do not delight in nooks and crannies.
This may sound selfish, or juvenile, or any number of unbecoming things but I’m going to say it anyway– I didn’t like having to consider accessibility. I didn’t like being limited by our son’s wheelchair. I didn’t like having special needs.
Instead of squealing over windows, banisters, and the flow of each potential home, we methodically measured the width of doorways, counted stairs, and grieved over the narrowness of bathrooms. It was hard. I cried. Over and over again it struck me how inaccessible homes are. And why wouldn’t they be? Most people do not use wheelchairs.
I felt sorry for us. With each new listing I saw places where my son could get left behind– the bedrooms with doors too narrow for a chair, the immaculate finished basements with built in stereo systems, the multilevel decks surrounded by pebbled walkways, the sloping driveways. I wondered, “What if this were Sim’s best friend’s house? His chair couldn’t even get through the front door…” It broke my heart. And my pride along with it.
But just as I began to doubt that we would ever find a house the wheelchair and I could both love, we found this– a 1973 ranch-style home in a good neighborhood. With wide doorways. And a flat driveway for playing basketball. Not to mention plenty of room for adjustments so that, someday, it will be just right for a wheelchair. It’s a fixer upper and it’s not charming– not yet— but just wait till I get my hands on it.
Turns out, God knew what we needed– and it wasn’t gabled upstairs windows or wide stairways. What we needed was a place to call our own. Something just right for our family. And our family happens to come with a wheelchair.
So, maybe it’s not my dream home and maybe it’s not what I had planned– but it’s good. And now that I think about it, that’s exactly how our life has been. And, so far, I kind of love it.
PS: I can’t wait to tell you more about this groovy little place. Expect Before & After photos because there is some rad carpeting you’re gonna want to see before it goes away. Mustard-yellow shag, anyone? Pink, carpet? Blue? We’ve got it all...