Today, in the middle of the dust bowl (Texas has been above 100 degree temperatures for over a month now — with no rain), the family embarked upon an adventure.
With a baby strapped to my body and a toddler clinging to my side, the husband and I went on a tour of “model homes” in a newly built neighborhood.
The row of model homes sat against the main road, each front lawn boasting the name of the builder and a big “OPEN” sign.
They were nice. We ooo’d and ahh’d at variations of vaulted ceilings. Ran our fingers across granite countertops. Commented on crown molding and walked in walk-in closets. We buried our bums in the fluffed leather seats in the “in-home theater” rooms — and mused about the murals painted upon the nursery walls.
But as nice as the homes were — as fancy as the facades — as happy as the smiling faces in the framed stock photos — something was missing.
Sure, the homes were nice. And sure, I would like a bigger kitchen.
But once we left, I felt… underwhelmed. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until we turned the corner onto our modest street — and pulled into our leaf-covered driveway. Until we crept open our squeaky front door and walked into the toy-spotted livingroom.
You know what was missing in those picture-perfect houses?
Real life. Where dogs make hair and kids make stains and people make memories. And without the real stuff, a house is just that: walls and bricks and vaulted ceilings.
So often, we think we want what’s in that magazine — the clean, perfectly-placed, museum of a home — and there’s certainly nothing wrong with the models we viewed today.
I was just reminded that the real “models” are the homes that are filled with love: no matter what their price tag.
(Though I did like that kitchen.)