I cried my contacts out the night we signed the paperwork for another family to purchase our house. Partially this was due to the stress of still needing to find our own next home in a truly insane real estate market with very little inventory, and partially because it was the beginning of the end of a very messy, imperfect, beautiful love story between our family and our home.
Like any love story, it had its ups and downs. It had unlikely beginnings- when we moved in the yard was a bunch of dirt with some tiny trees against the back wall. When we left, we left behind a beautiful green space, a well loved garden (my first successful attempt at a garden and then many happy seasons of vegetables and flowers thereafter!), and trees that have somehow gown even faster than our children. And it has a bittersweet ending- when we moved in, this house was more than enough room or the three of us. We were leaving after a really tough year of five of us feeling quite cramped- especially after months and months of needing to use our home simultaneously as home, preschool, 1st grade, and an office. I’m so thankful for the people that made this house feel so full, but so sad that we got too big for this sweet house. If we hadn’t had a third kid, we’d never have considered moving right now.
Speaking of children, inevitably part of the reason we fell in love with this house so much is that this is where we brought home our daughters after their respective births. And that was only the beginning of the many memories we made with them here as this house transformed more and more into a home. This is where we did more craft projects than I can count and where my husband and I had at home date nights binging Marvel movies as I struggled through nursing a
baby with reflux and how much I hated pumping. This home is where we stayed safe during a worldwide pandemic and where we yelled a lot more at each other than we’d have liked during the surge of COVID cases in Arizona last summer when we had to stay inside from the heat and all our usual indoor entertainment options were no longer options. It is where my son struggled through days of virtual learning, and where a fan broke from he and his dad playing ball inside the house, where chalk drawings and backyard adventures abounded, where we made so many memories in the kitchen cooking and baking together as a family and where we sat lazily on the couch watching other kids cook on Master Chef Junior. All those day to day joys and struggles that build a true love story.
Like any good love story, this house also impacted our family and made us better in many ways. The limited space made me minimize and get organized in a whole new way. The mountains I stared at every time I walked out our front door called to me and became a second home for me over the years. The schools we found because of the area we chose to move have been such an important and wonderful environment for our kids. Staying in an area we loved gave me job opportunities I might not have taken if we lived further out to one extreme end of our metro area or the other. True loves bring forth opportunity beyond the love story itself.
I wonder if our new neighborhood will have an ice cream truck that plays christmas carols in April (Silent Night), or if we will find a neighbor that remembers our kids’ birthdays, or if we will ever love a backyard as much as we loved this one… but I am hopeful because love is a verb and as we move into our next house, one we hope to stay in for a long long time, we are going to fill it with memories, put in the work to make it a welcoming place for our family and friends, and start a new love story as we turn it from a house into a home.
Sweet starter house, I know the family moving into you will do the same. That night we decided to accept an offer on you and I started crying, my husband calmed me down by assuring me it was time for a new family to build crazy happy memories here. I can’t think imagine a better ending to our love story than that.
We love you, and we wish you well. Time to start a new adventure.