After thirty-two years of parenting, we’re in the countdown to when our youngest child graduates from high school in three years. We began this countdown five years ago, but it’s picked up speed the past year as we’ve begun to research, discuss and plan where we want to live and how we want to live. At the top of my list is to be near the kids who are currently all living in the same metro area. I thought a condo on the river in Portland, with our Sunriver house as a backup gathering spot, would be ideal. This was going to require some major downsizing since the condo would be small relative to our current family home. I had begun the process of going through items, discarding those we no longer needed and planning for what else would need to be discarded in the future in order to accomplish a move from a large home to a small condo.
Then, a house in Sunriver we’ve looked at twice in the last two years came back on the market at a substantially reduced price. With barely a second thought, I said, “Let’s make an offer on it.” We did. Offer accepted. Plans totally change. Now, our main home will be in Sunriver, still with some type of condo in Portland, but our lifestyle will revolve around Central Oregon, not downtown Portland.
The house needs quite a bit of work, but it’s large enough for our kids and someday grandkids to come visit, to be home for college summer breaks and it doesn’t require any downsizing. I’m excited about spending time there, making it our home. I can see us living in this house, working in this house, entertaining in this house. However, even though I can see us aging in this house, I was bothered when my husband referred to the house as our Forever House. Of course, all the research, discussion and planning we’ve been doing has been with the goal of finding the place we want to live for the last decades of our lives, but calling it the Forever House was startling. While I know I am not immortal and death will find me eventually; it is easy to go through my days as if I’m looking toward a far off horizon that seems to go on forever. Now, we’re moving into a house we acknowledge may be our final home – that makes it quite clear there is a “final” – this horizon really doesn’t go on forever. I get that. I’m not in denial, but I also don’t want to be reminded of my mortality on a daily basis, so we’re no longer referring to this house as our Forever House, instead we’re going to it call Toad Hall – “…the finest house on the river”.