It was our forever home.
When we bought our house, we were newly engaged. He was 21 and I was 22, he was finishing up his undergrad degree and I was a month into my first year of teaching. He moved in and slept on his old twin mattress while we saved up to buy furniture, and I moved in the day we returned from our beach wedding. We didn’t look at a single other house in person, this was it. It was two minutes from my school, on a cul-de-sac, and had a front porch. It was perfect, in my young mind. And it was. It was also going to be IT. This was our house where we’d raise our family and then rock on that front porch when they’d come back and visit us.
Then, over six years later, that perfect house that the newlyweds in their early twenties thought would be their home for as long as they could imagine, found itself with a “For Sale” sign in its front yard.
About five months ago, I started getting the feeling that maybe forever wasn’t going to last as long as we thought it’d be with this house. One night while giving our toddler a bath, I mentioned to my husband what had been rolling around in my mind for a few days. I thought he’d laugh it off, but instead he said, “I’ve actually been thinking that too.”
Well, this certainly was a development.
What inspired this? I’ve been home (joyfully) with our son for the past couple of years, so the proximity to my former school wasn’t a huge pro like it had been before. And, the teacher in me wasn’t thrilled where he would be zoned for elementary school (it wasn’t my former school). The kitchen was pretty small, and blame HGTV, but we’ve been wanting a bigger kitchen/eating space for some time and there wasn’t really a way to do it without adding on to the house. And we’d love to be closer to a part of town that was nearer to my husband’s work, our families, our church, and just all around more convenient.
Oh and we found out that we were expecting Baby #2 (yay!!!), so that puts a little GIDDY UP IN YOUR STEP.
So, we spent a few weeks looking at houses online in the area we wanted to be. We were getting pretty discouraged by what was out there, but we knew Spring was coming when many would go for sale. Then, one afternoon in December, my husband sent me a link to a house in our dream neighborhood. It’s an older neighborhood in the area we grew up in that we honestly never thought we’d be able to afford. But it was priced right because it was a fixer upper. Like intercom-in-the-walls, missing-baseboards, old-linoleum-flooring, MISSING-BATHTUB fixer upper.
For the love of Chip & Jo, IT WAS BUILT IN 1983 AND NEVER LEFT. RONALD REAGAN IS STILL PRESIDENT IN THIS HOUSE.
I said, nope. Not gonna happen. I don’t mind a little work, but this was too much.
But it never really left my mind. My parents told me I should look at it again, and then one day I drove past it and well. A wide front porch that would fit a couple of rocking chairs (Have you picked up that a front porch is a requirement for me?), two oak trees in the front yard. That was it. I loved it. It was far from perfect, but I could see the amazing potential.
One walk-through the house, and while very daunting, overwhelming, whatever-stress-related-adjective-you’d-like-to-use, I knew it. This was our house. I could see our children playing in that fenced-in backyard. Hosting birthday parties back there and under the covered deck. Taking a walk down to the pool on hot, summer days. Turning that small, fourth bedroom with the built-in bookshelf into a playroom. Which room would be our son’s room and which room would be the new nursery. We started talking knocking down a wall here, a partial one there. Thinking which paint color would look better, which kind of flooring would change this place and bring it into this century.
To make a long story a little less long, after two showings, a few rounds of negotiating, and lots of prayer, we were under contract. And then over twenty-five showings later at our own house, we accepted an offer and the new-to-us house is officially ours.
We are so excited, overwhelmed, and incredibly thankful. It will be rough few weeks of transition as we remodel that house a bit, but it will be oh-so worth it. We can’t wait to see how God will use this house in lives in and outside our family for prayerfully many, many years.
But, can I just say? It sure is bittersweet. Since buying the house we’re leaving, I’ve changed my last name, started to learn how to be a godly wife (really, still learning… such a work in progress), taught students that became “my kids,” hosted friends and family, have become a mother to the sweetest boy, and just learned another blessing is on the way.
If these walls could talk, they’d tell you about…
… when a nervous, new Mama and Daddy brought home their newborn, sat at the table eating the Chick-fil-A they had picked up on the way home from the hospital, looked at that sleeping baby boy and said to each other, “Well. Now what do we do?”
… all of the pacing that took place in the hallway between our bedroom and the kitchen trying to calm down that crying boy, and the smile of relief when he fell asleep on our shoulder (and we did too).
… the dances that have taken place on these hardwood floors. Ranging from laughing hysterically while imitating some Bruno Mars dance moves to even a slow dance to a favorite Brad Paisley song a time or two.
… the (silly) arguments they heard as two people learned to live together, yes, but also the sweet apologies that came afterward too.
… the sweet husband tolerated and even complimented some early Pinterest recipe fails at dinner. (Ok, they still sometimes happen).
… the 2 a.m. feedings and then the 2:30 a.m. staring contests between Mama and baby when he was wide awake.
… the screams of joy when our baby took his first, wobbly steps on that living room floor.
… all of the crawling “races” between Daddy & son, and the sweetest first sounds of his giggles that made those pacing nights worth it.
… me telling my husband that we were going to be Mama and Daddy one Sunday morning… and getting to tell him again two and a half years later when he came home from work one Monday evening.
… seeing my husband’s sister decide to follow Christ within that small kitchen area.
… consoling one another when loved ones passed away unexpectedly.
… and so much more.
So dear 608, you will always be thought of with a smile. I know I will drive past you someday and show our son where he did so many of his first “firsts” with a tear in my eye. I have grown so much living inside your walls. In many ways, I’m hardly the person I was when we first got to know one another. I pray God was glorified while we were here, and that He will continue to be for the next family that calls this place home.
(And this next house REALLY WILL BE OUR FOREVER ONE BESIDES HEAVEN).
(Or until I’m too old to climb stairs. Then it’ll be time to move to the beach).
(Moving life is not for me).
(What are you guys doing a few Saturdays from now, by the way?)
(And RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU LOVE TO PAINT!)