We didn't love our house when we bought it. Our price range didn't allow us the luxury to buy the quintessential dream home. Rather, it was, to be frank, the least disgusting of everything we had seen. It wasn't huge. It wasn't updated. It was one level living. There was no master bath. But it was clean, and bright, and in a great neighborhood with a great yard. And anyway, we figured we would move to a nicer house in 2 or 3 years. With our dual incomes, we were on a pretty good trajectory to eventually upgrade.
We closed on December 15, 2007. Two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant with our first son.
We settled into our house and prepared for a baby. We painted the nursery a pale green and spent a ridiculous amount of money on crib bedding. We bought a glider and I remember sitting in that glider, still pregnant, resting my hand on my growing belly and daydreaming about what our son would be like.
In September of 2008 my son entered this world and became our new housemate. Life changed. I went back to work. We got a nanny. I got pregnant again.
I decorated another baby room, bought another glider, and in an extreme bout of nesting, convinced my husband that we needed to renovate our entire kitchen and bathroom. We did, and it transformed our house. It looked fantastic.
|Our kitchen BEFORE|
|Our kitchen AFTER|
As a stay at home mom, our house became my office. It was then that I started to feel a bit suffocated. I yearned for more space. But since we were no longer a dual income family, our 2-3 year plan of upgrading to a new house was no longer in the cards. We tried to refinance, to save a bit more money, and were told that our house was under water. Apparently, late 2007 wasn't a "good time to buy" after all.
Life went on, and our house got more ragged. The kids drew on the walls. The baby gates made holes in the stairwell. The carpet was rife with spit up stains and muddy dog paws. A tree fell on our roof during a winter storm. The wood started chipping at the edges of our once shiny new kitchen cabinets. The boys, now successfully potty trained, were peeing all over the toilet seat in our shared bathroom. The pipes leaked and the sewage line exploded and our house became a limitless money pit. Complaining about our house became one of my frequent pastimes.
The news of my third pregnancy made our house officially overcrowded. We were out of bedrooms for a brand new nursery, so my two sons moved in together to make room for the baby. I had tremendous guilt about them having to share a room.
We brought our third baby boy home in November 2013, nearly six years after we had bought our house. As a family of 5, we were on top of each other. And I was over it. Over one level living. Over sharing a bathroom. Over sharing bedroom walls with all three children. Over living in a small, old house.
I officially hated our house.
A few months later, my husband got a promotion at work. Housing prices rose. Interest rates fell. And suddenly, the possibility that we could finally do that upgrade and move was a real one.
I spent months perusing real estate listings. And then, a couple of months ago, my husband and I saw a house we loved. It was big. And new. And only a half a mile away from our current house. We stewed for a few weeks, and put in an offer. The whole time we were doing it we kind of couldn't believe we were doing it.
We close on December 22.
But buying a house is only half the battle. We had to sell our house, which, thankfully, had returned above water.
We spent weeks painting, sanding, and staining. We cleaned the yard and the carpets. We stored toys and furniture and anything and everything else in a storage unit. We hired 1-800 GOT JUNK (a la Hoarders) to collect a bunch of .... junk. The result was nothing short of a miracle.
Our basement used to look like this:
And now, it looks like this:
Our house sold in less than one week.
I should be ecstatic. Everything worked out so perfectly, and we are about to move out of our small, old, piece of crap house into a beautiful, brand new home.
So why do I feel so sad?
This house... for all its faults... is our house. Ours. The idea of someone else living here just feels.... wrong.
Don't they know what's happened here? What these walls mean?
I brought three children home to this house. They had their first smiles, their first steps, their first bite of solid food and their first full night of sleep here. This house has been filled with their laughter, their cries, their successes, and their setbacks.
I became a mother in this house.
This house is where we have celebrated first birthday parties. And wedding anniversaries. And Christmas and Thanksgiving and Hanukkah and every other holiday. This neighborhood is where we took our kids trick or treating for the first time, and where we walk down to the neighborhood pool almost every day during the summer. This is the place that we have spent seven solid, formative years of our lives - a place where we have endured incredible lows, enjoyed incredible highs, and learned life lessons (sometimes the hard way).
We became a family in this house.
All of a sudden, us being on top of each other doesn't seem so bad. Isn't it so nice that I can hear even the faintest cry from any of my children during the night? Or that I can have a conversation with my husband from the bedroom to the kitchen? And all that guilt about my boys sharing a room was for naught - they love being together, and can't sleep if the other one isn't there. And even though they wake each other up too early, I love hearing the sounds of their laughter as they whisper to each other or jump from bed to bed.
Space is what I wanted, and space is what we are getting. Our new house is much bigger. And I'm sure my kids and I will adjust (quickly!). But as I walk around the halls of our house in these last few weeks we are still here, I find myself getting sentimental. This house I hated - this house I have complained about for so long - it has served us well.
I've never been one to get attached to material things. A few years back some mold ate through my wedding dress (quite literally), and I just laughed it off. But the spirit in this house, and the memories that were born here - they are so special to me. I can't help but want to embrace the very walls themselves, as if doing so will soak it all up so I can take it with me.
Of course, I can take it with me, in a figurative sense. But the transition out of this house has meaning - more meaning than I anticipated when I casually started searching real estate listings a few months back. This house was a beginning - a beginning of adulthood, of family, of career, of life.
I don't know how many more homes I will live in in this life of mine. But I know that this one will always hold a special place in my heart.
Thank you, our house. Thank you.
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