THE LITTLE HOUSE THAT COULD
© 2020 Grandma Communications LLC
Once upon a time, a perky little house was the perfect size for its little family: A young woman and a young man who met in high school, fell in love, and got married. They wanted to stay near their parents but did not want to live with them anymore. They wanted a home of their own.
The little house had one story:
It had a large grass backyard and front yard, a small brick patio, a hot cramped attic, a chimney, and a dark, damp, cold basement.
It was a sturdy, strong house made of concrete blocks, a red brick surface, wooden double front doors painted navy blue, and a shingle roof, with large windows and navy blue shutters.
In the front yard, next to the little house, the young woman planted asters and chrysanthemums. In the backyard, the young man planted two young apple trees.
The young couple loved furnishing and decorating the little house. They loved living there even more! They used the second bedroom as their home office and entertained their friends, family, and neighbors often in the house and backyard. And they lived there by themselves for almost a year.
But after 11 months, four people lived in the little house: the young couple and two babies! The family was now Mommy, Daddy, and twins, a boy named Edward and a girl named Emily.
Daddy and Mommy painted the second bedroom yellow and filled it with two cribs, a changing table, a rocking chair, a cabinet for baby clothes, and lots of toys, games, and books for their little children.
As the twins grew, the dads of Mommy and Daddy – now grandpas – hung a wooden swing on a rope between the apple trees and built a slide, a sandbox, and a volleyball net in the backyard. That backyard did not look so large anymore, but the little house enjoyed the laughter, giggles, and even the all night crying of the newest members of its family.
The twins kept Mommy and Daddy too busy for all the entertaining they used to do in the little house, but they still invited friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate special occasions like holidays, birthdays, and school graduations.
Time passed quickly. Before long, the twins were four years old, talking, singing, playing, fighting with each other, and making a mess in the little house. They slept in a bunk bed in the yellow bedroom and had their own little desks and desk chairs.
Soon they had a baby sister! She slept in a crib in Mommy’s and Daddy’s bedroom.
Daddy and the grandpas found a contractor to refinish the basement as a playroom for the twins and their little sister Mindy. Some people call a playroom a wreck room because it can be very messy and noisy. Mommy and the grandmas found a brightly colored kids’ table and matching chairs, a kids’ sofa, storage bins, and an easel and Daddy and the grandpas built a dollhouse, doll carriage, train set, ping pong table, white board, and bulletin board, all for the twins and Mindy.
The grandmas and grandpas visited the family in the little house often, taking turns caring for the twins and Mindy when Mommy and Daddy left the house to go to work. Everyone was merry and relaxed in the little house. Even though it was often crowded, noisy, messy, and hot, all that commotion made the little house feel very useful and happy.
A few years later, though, something very scary happened: A bad virus started spreading all over the world, making many people very sick. Some of the sick people died. No one knew a cure or any drug to prevent people from catching the virus.
Scientists who worked for the government told everyone that the only way to stop the virus from spreading and making more people sick and die was for people to stay in their own homes with their own families and not go to restaurants, stores, theatres, gyms, parks, playgrounds, or even other people’s homes. If they needed to shop or go to the doctor or dentist, they had to wear masks to prevent their germs from infecting other people.
Daddy, Mommy, the twins, Mindy, and the grandmas and grandpas were very sad: They wanted to see each other often, hug, snuggle, read stories, sing, whistle, play together, and even kiss each other. Mommy and Daddy needed even more help caring for their three children: They had to work harder to pay for the needs of their growing family, the children’s pre-school and elementary school were closed to prevent the virus from spreading, and all of them were working and learning schoolwork in the little house.
While the grandparents lived in their own homes, they could not visit the family in the little house because of the virus. Without the chatter and laughter of the grandparents with Mommy, Daddy, and the children, the little house felt that it had let the family down.
Also, the grandpas and grandmas were getting older. They did not work anymore. They did not need their own large homes because their children were grown and had homes of their own, as Mommy and Daddy did. And they had a hard time fixing their homes when they broke.
One day, Emily asked Mommy and Daddy during breakfast, “Why can’t our grandmas and grandpas live with us all the time?”
At first, Mommy and Daddy laughed at the idea of the grandparents living with them all the time in the little house. After all, they moved to the little house to have a home of their own.
But then Mommy and Daddy got very quiet and went to their bedroom to have a private talk.
Nothing changed for what seemed to the little house to be a very, very long time.
Then the little house noticed that a crew was building two covered and enclosed walkways, like covered bridges: One walkway connected the little house to the house just east of it. The other walkway connected the little house to the house just west of it. The two walkways were made of concrete blocks and had red brick surfaces, shingle roofs, large windows, and navy blue shutters, just like the little house! The little house felt like its arms were stretching wide to hug its family and pull them close together.
And the little house observed that the houses just east and west of it, connected to the little house by the two walkways, now had red brick surfaces, wooden double front doors painted navy blue, shingle roofs, large windows, navy blue shutters, and asters and chrysanthemums in the front yard — just like the little house!
“What’s going on?” the little house wondered.
The little house then heard one of the twins ask Mommy, “When are the grandpas and the grandmas moving in, Mommy?”
“Moving in?” the little house puzzled, “More people living in this little house?”
Before long, the little house – and Edward, Emily, and Mindy – watched gleefully as Mommy and Daddy helped Mommy’s parents move into the house just east of it and Daddy’s parents move into the house just west of it.
That night, everyone – Mommy, Daddy, Emily, Edward, Mindy, both sets of grandmas and grandpas, and the little house – celebrated all of them living together in the extended little house: It was the little house that could!