On the day we bought our first house, the realtor said, “I just have to ask–why? Why this one?”
It was a fair enough question, especially since we had an offer in on one (that was probably nicer) by the time the bank finally called us back. Truth be told there was nothing much to recommend this house in itself except a halfway decent layout, a cul-de-sac, a view to die for, and of course the fact that it was much cheaper than anything else we’d looked at since it was small and in terrible shape.
But I was pregnant with my first baby and ready to be done house shopping, and somehow we saw the potential.
It helped that my parents had plenty of experience building and renovating houses. All we had to do was tear down and put in an all new kitchen (including moving the back door and re-working some plumbing and wiring) and re-do the bathrooms,
replace some tile, have the walls re-textured, replace windows and doors, prime and paint and get new carpet. And probably a few other things “while we’re at it.”
Eventually we replaced the outer siding and painted the exterior as well.
Both sadly and conveniently our old favorite local nursery was going out of business, so I grabbed two super-cheap peach trees, a snowball bush, and some half-dead honeysuckles and butterfly bush before we even moved in. A friend brought us an apple tree as a housewarming gift.
And boy did they all grow up nice!
It felt like a long process at the time, but all in all, we ended up with a pretty fresh and mostly new house. I think it turned out pretty nice.
My favorite might be my son’s nursery, which eventually became my twins’ nursery as well.
When the twins came, my son moved into the blue room, whose color I mixed like a soup of different paint shades until I got what I wanted.
I think the neighbors were especially pleased to see new life breathed into the house and have good neighbors in it instead of sketchy renters.
Our three closest neighbors were always kind to us and loved watching our kids grow, and said they would miss us when we finally moved out almost six years later in pursuit of more space to grow.
A bit reluctantly, on my part.
We like our new place and I know it’s the right thing for us, but I couldn’t help but admit to my husband last night, “I still really miss the old house.”
How could I not? We made it ours from the inside out, all 1041 square feet of it, and brought home our three babies to it.
“You might not believe this,” he said, “but we had a similar conversation when we moved out of our first apartment.”
What is a home, I’ve realized lately, but a sort of museum of memories? We filled that little yellow house to the brim with them. It took time, and it will take time here too.
It’s hard to imagine that my babies may grow into teens in this new house. But when we first moved into the yellow house, I didn’t even know who they were yet!
“We need to get your garden all set up for you here. I think you’ll feel a little better once we do.” My husband continued. I nodded hopefully—he knows me well.
“It’s always been your place to go.”