There's a small town in South Carolina that you wouldn't much care to go if you didn't live there or know someone who did. My grandparents lived there. Not in a neighborhood, but a street of homes, tucked into trails and trees, and if you had a good eye and a craning neck, you could look up long drives and see them.
In my grandparents' slice of forest, there was a double clothes line and a sack of pins; a bird house on a tall pole; a wheel-made path for a gocart (and a slightly banged corner of a shed via me); a swatch of golfing green and a framed net; tall, tall trees that got mad in the wind, held a vendetta and told you about it; birds that sung the grocery list to you, and you listened like you'd never heard the words; a half-built tree house; a weak swinging vine; a lazy stream and fool's gold, ravine after ravine, the rooms of our childish fantasy.
Sometimes I get real homesick for those woods on Wicklow. Mom says that if we had better memories we would be a morbid people, and I agree. As it is, I'm tempted to make a summer home there.
It's not because I despise my life, though, and maybe that's the problem - the temptation to walk away from wonderful for the sake of what was wonderful. My littlest boys' deep river eyes look full into mine now, hold the gaze. His little voice explores and calls out, echoing the sounds he hears. My big one collects cicada shells, and holds a stink bug on his finger like he's parading around with a parakeet; he says it's a pet but it doesn't need a name.
I read a quote from C. S. Lewis the other day. He said, "The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career." I read it to my husband and he said, "you want a raise, don't you," and we laughed real good at that. But seriously, who could put a price on this? This is living, not "a living," and we're filthy rich on fool's gold, and that's the way I like it.