I don’t remember the exact date, but but 11 years ago this week we completed the purchase of our house. We have been homeowners for 11 years. It blows my mind sometimes.
It was all a matter of timing. The house had belonged to Nate’s great aunt. She became ill and was determined she could not live on her own any longer. So about six months before our wedding she went into assisted living and the family started making plans to sell the house. Up until this point we had planned to just live in the apartment Nate was renting for a year or two and then buy a house, but this opportunity presented itself and it was too good to pass up. We worked with his grandparents on a plan, then did a rent to buy for a few months until August 2006 when we finally completed the purchase and the house became ours.
Over the years we’ve replaced furniture, windows, doors, and appliances. We’ve painted. There is still much to be done, but it’s transformed into our style and our taste. It’s small, but it’s cozy. It fits us.
It’s funny though, I do find myself caught up in the “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” and start playing the comparison game when I go to someone else’s house on occasion. I start finding all the things I don’t love about my house when I get a taste of something else. The street we live on is too busy. The front stairs are sagging and open to the side instead of the front. The carpet in the living room needs to be stretched. The wallpaper in the kitchen is peeling and should just be stripped and the walls should be painted. The linoleum in the kitchen never looks clean no matter how many times I mop it. Our closets are too small. We only have a one car garage and it’s too full of junk to park even one car in it. I could go on and on.
But then I step back and I think about those things and I realize, most of them can and will be fixed over time. We’ve already done so much and we can keep working and evolving. And then I also realize, none of those things really matter to me that much. I think about the things I love about my house. It has a sweet old fashioned charm, from the cute 1950’s style oven in the kitchen to the retro shag carpet in the basement to the perfect 1950’s pink bathroom. We’ve painted rooms in colors that are calming and give a warm feel. We have family pictures on every wall. Ollie’s toys might be scattered everywhere but it makes me smile because it means he’s comfortable here. We have a huge yard in the back that we’ve planted a garden, we’ve had countless bonfires in and have made tons of memories in. We have a deck where we’ve sat and enjoyed many lazy afternoons playing cards and relaxing in the shade of the giant ash tree in the back.
If I think even further I think of specific memories we’ve made in our house. The many Oktoberfest celebrations we’ve had. Super Bowl parties in our basement. Wedding and baby showers that have been hosted here. Bringing Taylor and Pippin home for the first time. Laboring at home for a while by the sparkle of the Christmas tree lights and leaving the house for the last time as a family of two and then coming home to those same blinking lights two days later as a family of three. Watching Ollie grow, learn to crawl, and take his first steps. Dinners around our dining room table with the three of us and with our extended family. Dance parties in the kitchen while Nate is cooking dinner. Those memories all mean more to me than a fancy, decorated, perfect house. Perfection is overrated.
Our house is not just a house. A home is only a home if it has love inside. We have love. They say home is where the heart is. Well, my house IS my heart. And I can’t imagine living anywhere else.