The light here, in this serene home I've made, is stuck at sunny midmorning. It's always a weekend, always summer. Every room is one my husband could've just left to go grab a cup of coffee, and soon he'll be back to enjoy it with me before our boys come thundering in.

Except there is no midmorning light, no endless summer. I'm exhausted, huddled before my laptop in a temporary home in a temporary town, my toddlers finally in bed, four loads of laundry waiting. I'm scrolling through images I've gathered, which add up, detail by detail, to my Forever Home, where I fantasize about us living when Ross is no longer an active-duty navy pilot.

I'm one of many military spouses curating such a home on Pinterest, a vision of the future to hold on to when the present is hard to bear. My husband's absence is a reality I've grown used to during his 12 years in the navy. This time it's only a month. Sometimes it's eight. For some, it will be forever. Perspective is important.

Maybe it's strange to focus on the kitchen island and claw-foot tub of a house that doesn't exist. Or maybe it's not strange for us wives to converse this way, pinning and repinning images, when there are so many things we can't say—that we update wills with disturbing frequency, that we're tired of repacking every eight months and watching the one we love leave.

This is the house we can paint, where we can make plans that aren't subverted by a last-minute change in orders. This is where Dad returns every night, where duffel bags aren't packed and waiting by the door. These boards give us more than ideas about where we might want to live. They let us dream, for a moment, of finally coming home.


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