When I was a little girl, I asked for the Barbie Dream House one Christmas.
My Barbies, who up until that point had been camping out in cardboard boxes in our laundry room, were in the market for some real estate. And only the finest in modern, plastic architecture would do.
I had to have that dream house for Barbie, Ken, Skipper and all their pals. And I wanted the Corvette, too.
But like many dream houses, this one was not in the budget.
$110 was a lot of money back in the early 1980s — and it’s still a lot today. And my parents, who were already carrying one mortgage, couldn’t afford Barbie’s dream house. So they bought me the Barbie Townhouse instead.
Barbie didn’t get her Corvette either. Instead, she drove a safe, practical, plastic ride from Kmart.
The townhouse was a pretty cool pad. Very urban chic. Perfect for a young, good-looking couple just starting out. It was three stories with an elevator, and every bit as spacious as the sprawling Barbie mansion, which looks like it was probably designed by Mike Brady.
Barbie and Ken had a very good life together in that townhouse, until the Marie (Osmond) doll moved into the neighborhood. But that’s a story for another day.
As much as I enjoyed playing with the townhouse, I was always kind of bummed that I didn’t get the dream house. I thought Barbie and Ken couldn’t be happy in anything but the dream house, that until they achieved their real estate dreams, their lives wouldn’t be complete or fulfilled.
I was only 8, so please don’t judge me for equating money with richness or for thinking that a dream house is defined by its size or its features or its pricetag. Back then, I thought to have a dream house, you needed the absolute best of the best. No way could a townhouse with cardboard walls compare to a molded plastic dream house.
And if I’m being honest, there were times as a grownup when I felt that way, too.
Our first home when we were married was a townhouse — oh, the irony. It was perfect for a couple just starting out. Just the right size, and just the right price and just the right level of responsibility.
We really did make it a home, but still I coveted what we didn’t have. Our laminate countertops and one-car garage and postage stamp yard were like those cardboard walls to me. They weren’t what I dreamed of when I dreamed of home ownership.
Somewhere along the way, though, I realized hardwood floors and granite countertops and cool playrooms don’t make a dream home.
And it was long before we moved into this house, which does have all those features I dreamed about once upon a time, and even more.
Our home is our haven. It’s more than just four walls. It’s the people we share it with that make a house a dream home. It’s the memories we make here.
And the memories we made there, in our old dream home, the townhouse with the shared wall and the too-small backyard and the laminate flooring and stained carpet…
It’s the place where this little boy learned to hate vegetables and love candy.
Where someone thought this was a good idea.
Where a cute little trick-or-treater rearranged the decor.
Where a little boy and his Pop-Pop made a gingerbread dream house.
Where a little boy dished out treats for Santa and his reindeer.
Where Greensboro Dinosaur Preschool got its start.
Where fossil digs happened on the kitchen table.
Where the kitchen was cluttered.
Where beds didn’t always get made.
Where we played dress up.
Where we first played in the snow.
Where even bed-head is a memory to be cherished. (Don’t worry, he won’t be mad because he’ll be feeling too sentimental by the time he reads this far. I hope!)
When the movers had finished packing up the truck, we were certainly excited to be moving on. But we didn’t feel like we were moving into our dream because we were already living it.
Today, I’m delighted to be sharing more about what our home means to us at Homes.com.
I’m warning you. If you thought this post was a tear-jerker, than you’ll really need to break out the tissues for my guest post at Homes.com.
What makes your house a dream home?