We just signed the final round of papers that will close our home a month from now.
My home, not a house, not an investment piece, not just real estate, my home.
I remember when my husband and I were looking for the perfect place that we would find in a new city we were moving to after living in two different cities all through graduate school. We were still engaged when we would travel to our newly adopted city the summer before our wedding, looking at home after home, bring my sons from a previous marriage along to test out how kid-friendly it would be for them.
We found the perfect place a month before the wedding. It was big enough for us to expand a family, which we did with the addition of two little girls. It had the large front and back yard for our youngest son to run out all that energy. It had the private, downstairs masters' suite where he and I could, for the first time, live together and have moments of peace. It was perfect so we bought it, putting money down, signing the papers, and taking pictures.
After the wedding, he and I moved to the house to have it to ourselves while the boys were several states away enjoying their last bit of summer, thankful for the wedding present of time one of our relatives gave us. My husband and I walked into every room of that home, we prayed over it, we anointed it, we blessed it.
The boys came home and settled in, plenty of room for them to do that. We put two of the boys together and one had his own room. My husband, then a professor for a major midwest university and a researcher at another, used the balcony room as his office. We set up one of the bedrooms as a TV/rec room, neither of us thinking we would need one of those bedrooms a year later for a nursery!
We painted and decorated and settled in, our home, we were the first and only owners of it. We marveled at the workmanship of the woodwork of our solid wood floors and realized that even our tallest son wouldn't grow tall enough to reach the top of the 10ft ceiling in the great room!
The view was spectacular through the two story window that overlooked our baby tree. We would sit there at night and look out at the night. The view was equally marvelous in our eat-in dining room with my morning coffee especially delicious when I looked out the bay windows. The glass French doors that opened to the back yard gave us many mornings of quiet as all the neighbors then had our backyards connected, creating acre after acre of green space for the neighborhood children to run and play from yard to yard.
I painted dragonflies on the wall after we hired painters for the baby's room and the main part of the house, for our room. I specialty painted my youngest son's room - four colors - to match a blanket he had. I created an artspace for all their masterpieces and painted a scene on one of the walls.
We lived in our home.
We did not have family in our new city and were therefore blessed to create family with which we shared Thanksgivings, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year's Day. We had baby showers and birthday parties, graduation parties, and just plan get togethers. We had over 3000 sq. ft. to live. We had five bedrooms and all of them were being used.
Our home became a refuge for friends of my son who needed a place to stay. I became mom to them, all of this in the last year we were there, his senior year.
We walked the floors with sick babies, worried over the teenage angst of our son, chatted about life, laughed, cried, argued, danced, and sang in that house.
I remember the evenings after our family dinner, always at 6:30pm, always together, always at our friendship table we bought a month after buying the house. I remember the dancing and the keyboard playing, and the fireplace that became the hiding place for Girl Scout Cookies because we never lit it - too many asthmatics in the house.
There were the days we spent leaning over the balcony with a long duster, reaching for the ceiling fan to do the dusting. The days of mopping and dusting the hardwood floor and shampooing the carpet from the boys' play. The Saturday morning lawn mowing, Friday morning trash and recycle pick up, the snow shoveling, the school bus that picked them up just one house over from our's. The neighborhood.
My husband tells me we will have another home again, and we will. It will just not be our first home. That one was special to me, to us.
We have been living in our new city for five years now. Our home sat vacant and alone during that time. We had to finish moving, hard to put 3000 sq ft. into 1800 sq. ft. We had it repainted and all remnants of us removed to prepare it for selling. We had new carpet put down and the hardwood floors refurbished. We hired a landscaper and maintained the lawn and snow removal and anything else to make it look lived in so vandals wouldn't think it was a foreclosure shell waiting to be destroyed. We maintained the mortgage and utilities and homeowner's dues and taxes and everything else...just didn't live there because my husband's job moved us across the state to the other big city. We put it on the market and the market crashed, we waited through the economic collapse and the never ending foreclosure notices that drove down the market price. We marveled that just across the state, in another big city suburb, our home would have sold for $300,000 more than the final price.
This morning, we signed the final papers to sell our home.
I sat here, looked at one of the last pictures we took of it, the outside, the tree we planted, the memories flooding me like the sun that used to flood through the Great Room windows.
There is truly something special about a place that has so many memories and holds a piece of your history. I hope that the family that moves into it next month will love it as much as I did.