It's an old colonial on a corner in a town we love. And right there, in the second-to-your-left of the door window, is where our oldest son was delivered. Wow... Did I mention I love this house?
When we moved in, three years ago, it was a rental, and we let the landlord know that we had the desire to purchase it one day, and a price was discussed. It's been in the backs of our minds. Because we never knew where life would take us, we have always rented. Maybe we'll live here, maybe there... But this was the first place we "really" considered living for a good while. And, after our children were born, it was REALLY somewhere we wanted to live.
Well, we were told that Peter's entire department would be leaving its current location and be operating out of the San Francisco area. Suddenly, we were faced with staying or going. Do we follow his job? Does he change departments? Do we stay? Does he look into some of the solicitations he's had? What to do...
We talked about it a lot. We weighed our options. We discussed what would be best for our family. And we decided to really put down roots and stay east. Once that decision was made, we discussed our home and our dreams for it. And we decided purchasing was something we should do.
After talking about our goals for living within our means, we realized that neither of us has any plan for me to go back to work. We like a parent at home. We like homeschooling. We like our quasi-1950s arrangement. It works for us. And, because it does, we voiced something painful: we can't afford to buy this house. At almost double what we are comfortable spending on purchasing a house, we know that it would require a drastic change in our living arrangement that we arent willing to make.
Because interest rates are so low and it seems to be a "buyers market", I contacted Peter's aunt to show us a house or two we'd seen online. We set our budget and out we went. And man, did we find some real peaches. Everything seemed to require several thousands to make it into a functional home for us. If it wasnt this, it was that. And, the fact that we limited our search to areas that Peter could commute to work via bike didnt open up our choices. I told Peter that I was tired of looking because I didnt have time and we werent finding things (online or in person) that really fit our list of requirements (the closest to a 10/10 that we found was a 6/10- not good!)
So, Peter emailed me some links and, of those, I saw four that looked okay online, so I forwarded their addresses and his aunt set up a morning of appointments. First house: bust. Second house: better than the first but bust. The third house we were going to see, I'd driven by and said I wasnt interested in seeing but, since the appointment was made, we were going to go anyway. Fourth house: bust.
The third house was a rancher, listed at 1500 square feet (we have about 2300 now). It sits on a hill, on a third of an acre, with a raised garden and small patio. We went in through the garage, and passed by the laundry room and small half bath, to get to the kitchen. I shrugged and said it was nice, which it was, before I noticed it was an eat in with no dining room. Bummer... But the kitchen was big, as was the living room, and three nice sized bedrooms completed the floor, along with a bathroom. So, to the basement we went.
Wow... Three more possible bedrooms/rooms, another full bathroom, and a family room with a bar and an included pool table. The square feet doubled and, as we looked around, we saw that the house didnt need that much work. I walked through the main level again and, before my eyes, I could see our family living there... kids in their bedrooms, me at the stove, Peter putting the Christmas tree up before the large living room window... Our home...
When we got back in the car, I read the disclosure aloud as we drove to house #4. As soon as we left it, I finished the disclosure. "I'd give it a 9," Peter said. "Me too," I echoed. But, then I digressed and said that, by the time we decided to make an offer, it would be off the market. (It had only been on for 3 days, in contrast to the months-years of the other houses we'd seen). He agreed. "I think we should make an offer now."
Thinking he was joking, I laughed, and picked up my mobile to call his bluff. But he wasnt bluffing. I called his aunt - before we even got home- and told her we were interested. This was a Thursday morning. By Friday night, she had drawn up all the paperwork, we were signed and sealed, and she'd delivered it. By Saturday afternoon, we had a counter, that we countered, that they countered, and we agreed. Settlement is slated for October 29th. And we are quite a bit poorer. (Well, we're going to be A LOT more poorer!)
But we have the start of our house. Ours. As in, we will (one day) own it. Ours. A place for our family.
A new beginning.
And a heartbreak.
Because you cant have a new beginning without ending something.
I, honestly, never thought about moving from this house. It's the house where I held my oldest child as he breathed and moved. It's where his twin rolled around from side to side in my belly, looking for him, telling us she was okay. It's where I laid on my couch waiting for Peter to get home to rush me to the hospital when I started laboring with my middle child. It's where I spent many weeks, praying to get many more, with my youngest children. I have cried in its corridors, thrashed on its floors. It has been the deafening silence of loss... and the resilient whisper of new life. It has been home, even if it wasn't "ours". How could it be more ours?
To the new people, it will just be a living room or downstairs bathroom, but to us, it is baby rooms... To someone else, it wont be the former nursery or her room or his room or their room, but just another room. But, when I drive by, I will see Nicholas, and Sophia, and Alexander, and Bobby, and Maya. It isnt just a stone structure covered by stucco; it's their place. Our place with them.
I've always loved to move. I'm a free spirit by nature, and I want to be on the go. Moving is a chance to clean out crap that needs to be tossed and to reevaluate if I need/want something. It's a chance to start over. A way to reinvent. It's fresh. It's moving on in so many senses of the word.
But I dont feel like I can start over. I dont feel like I have that in me anymore. I dont think that simply packing and unpacking can possibly fix how I feel.
Peter and I both felt our little saints encouraging us in this endeavor. From missing necklaces to words in our ears, we know they support this move and dont feel like we are leaving them behind in this house. But it still hurts to think about cleaning out their things and moving them out of here. For now, I have weeks, but just like Bobby and Maya's first birthday has snuck up on me, I know that this move will too and, before I know it, it will be October and right around the corner.
I know it will be refreshing, and hard. And, I'm not sure how that is going to make me feel.
But for right now, even in my anxiety and fear, I am excited and scared.
(Oh, and did I mention how fast this happened? We saw the house on a Thursday morning, drafted the order Friday night, and negotiated/agreed throughout Saturday while I was at the pre-triathlon seminar! Of course, I never dreamed of staying up until 2am, 9 days after our initial offer, as I poured over mortgage forms and scanned in documents! Sheesh! Now, quite a number of days later and a few mishaps under our belts, I'm trying to just remain positive and not worry about something going wrong. I mean... People buy houses every day! It can't be that hard!)