I've been thinking about chickens a lot lately. I like chickens. I want to own some someday.
And maybe a goat. I really love goats. I've been asking my husband for a goat for years. In fact, whenever he asks me what I would like for my birthday or for Christmas, he prefaces it by saying "And don't say you want a goat! You can't have a goat in a neighborhood. There are ordinances against those kinds of things!"
Ordinances, shmordinances. I think he's just happy to have a reason not to buy me a goat. I try to tell him that my goat would help him by cutting the grass regularly, but he's not caving. After ten years of marriage, and ten years of putting in a request at least twice annually, the closest thing I've gotten to a goat is a tiny plastic figurine and a stuffed sheep.
In my quest for a goat of my own, I do have to concede one thing: our current little corner of the world has no space for a farm animal. In fact, our big family (which does sometimes resemble a farm animal in noise, manner and smell) is already bursting at the seams of our 1200-square-foot, single bathroom home. We've contemplated putting an addition on the back of our house, thought of adding bedrooms and a second bathroom in the basement, and even considered simply choosing to thrive in the space we have. Until recently, I actually thought that one of these plans could work. Until, that is, we added a seventh person around our dinner table in our tiny little dining room.
We don't fit anymore.
Let's face it. The dining room in this house is never going to get any bigger, and the people around it are never going to get any smaller (except for me, that is....eventually). They're going to keep growing and growing and growing, bumping elbows, knocking over glasses of milk, and having to suck in their bellies just to slide behind someone else to get to their seat. It's not the table that's the problem, but the fact that a bigger table won't fit in the room. It really bugs me.
I mean, the dining room table is, in my mind, the central gathering place of our home. The heart of our family, where we come together at the end of the day to commune with one another. To share what went on while we were apart. To break bread together. Pray together. Laugh together. Live life together. And there simply isn't space for that kind of family togetherness when there isn't even room for the whole family at the table.
So now that the direction of my thoughts has turned once again to moving, I find myself thinking about chickens...
...because the kind of house I dream about raising our children in just wouldn't look right without a flock...or a herd...or whatever you call a clan of chickens....pecking around the lawn.
So many people want great, big, new, opulent houses with the finest of everything inside them, built all in a row with other great, big, opulent houses with more of the finest of everything inside them. Now don't take this personally if you happen to live in a house like this; everyone has their own dreams and their own ideas of the perfect home. But I hate those houses.
For one, I'm not opulent. At all. I'm homey. And since I don't enjoy cleaning even one bathroom, I can't imagine I'd enjoy cleaning a half dozen of them. And I don't like my home to look like it popped out of a magazine. Or was created by some interior designer that has never walked a day in my life. I want my family's home to look like my family.
Imperfect. Fun. Creative.
Faith-filled. Loud. Spontaneous.
Joyful. Passionate. Ornery.
Loving. Cluttered. Sentimental.
I want a place to surround the people I love with things that we love. Books. Pictures. Guitars. Souvenirs. Childish drawings and crooked pots made of clay. I want to plaster the walls with memories of each other, encouragement for each other, love for each other. I want a home that holds the story of our family within its very walls...one with its own character, that lives and breathes and echoes the laughter of piles of little children that run barefoot down its creaking halls. A home that has known love and laughter and family before, and is aching for us to give it another chance, aching for us to move in and uncover the secrets it holds within.
My dream house is an old house. A lived-in house. A loved house...that wants to be loved again.
Somewhere out there, I pray that God has the perfect house picked out for us. One with a great big dining room that holds a great big table with more than enough room to hold our entire family...maybe even with a few spaces yet to be filled. And past the dining room, past the library filled top to bottom with tattered, well-loved books, through the big front baby-fingerprinted windows, where the sun shines through in golden streaks, I hope there will be chickens clucking merrily in the yard.
And off to the corner of the yard, completely free from troublesome city ordinances, would be a perfect place to keep my goat.