When my parents bought our family home, my brother and I had no say in the matter. I was a little over a year old and my brother was a newborn infant. So, voting was out of the question. Not that we would have been consulted had we been older at the time. In their generation, that would be unheard of.
When Speedy bought our first house, the girls didn’t get to vote either although they were about 7 and 6 at the time. Even my role was confined to saying YES or NO. There weren’t any real choices. There was only one house within the budget that looked decent. Or, perhaps, we were much too unfamiliar with the suburb to know where to look.
This time, however, things are different. We have seen most of the residential subdivisions in the area. We know the quality of the neighborhood of each one, the prices, the lot sizes, the amenities and everything else we need to know to make a good decision. And, this time, we all got to decide — including the girls. And their votes carried as much weight as Speedy’s and mine. It’s only fair. It’s going to be their house as much as ours.
When Speedy and I first saw the “possibilities”, the girls weren’t with us. There were about six house models to choose from but only three met our space requirements. The first one we saw looked promising. Bay windows in the living room, a huge attic on the third floor, a small balcony adjacent to the largest bedroom… But the rooms were not that big and there was still that cramped feeling. Yes, we could all have our private space but they will still be smallish private spaces. I thought I’d get a third of the attic for a study/office and I’d have a fantastic view from up there, but…
The second house we viewed was fully furnished. It was smaller than the first but the floor plan was good. The problem was that the girls would still have to share a bedroom and that’s not really solving anything.
The third house looked too grand and too large. And really beautiful. Every aspect was well thought out. From the location of the shoe cabinets to the size of the laundry area to the inclusion of a powder room for guests. And there was a perfect place for my study/office. But because it looked like “too much house”, Speedy and I agreed that the first house we viewed was ideal.
The next day, we brought the girls with us and it was almost as if they were thinking with one mind. They seemed happy with the first house, discarded the second as “too small”, then they saw the third house.
We were in the garden talking with the real estate developer and the girls went straight upstairs. When they came down, they already decided which would be their respective bedrooms.
Discussion time. Right there and then. And in the presence of the real estate developer who was visibly amused at the active role that the girls were taking in the decision-making. They enumerated their reasons as to why the third house was the best. Speedy argued that there was no room for expansion in that house but the attic of the first house offered a lot of possibilities. By the end of the discussion, the girls had won me over. We took a vote — 3 to 1 with Speedy still convinced that the first house was ideal for us.
But of course we went by the majority vote.