I’m a big fan of meaningful quotes. I used to collect them in high school…seriously, ask to see my quote book if we ever meet up and are at a loss for words. 😛 While thinking about this post for awhile now, I found this quote that just about says it all:
“A star falls from the sky and into your hands. Then it seeps through your veins and swims inside your blood and becomes every part of you. And then you have to put it back into the sky. And it’s the most painful thing you’ll ever have to do and that you’ve ever done. But what’s yours is yours. Whether it’s up in the sky or here in your hands. And one day, it’ll fall from the sky and hit you in the head real hard and that time, you won’t have to put it back in the sky again.” – C. JoyBell C.
You could say that I knew the time would come. But a more accurate statement would be that I fooled myself into thinking I was prepared for it.
Our humble little abode just went on the market and we’re in the “gotta-constantly-keep-it-spotless-and-free-of-personal-items-since-strangers-are-always-stopping-by-with-little-advanced-notice” phase. We’re really happy with how it shows…it’s amazing what a lack of clutter does for a feeling of spaciousness! But, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies; it’s been quite a long and emotional road to get here…
I’m completely attached and totally biased. Great traits to have as a seller, right? I look around this house and see every inch of space we’ve designed to get it to this enjoyably livable point: walls that have been demolished and rebuilt in more functional locations; closets that didn’t previously exist at all that now house hundreds of items in a neat and tidy way; floors that we started out with one material then changed to another after living with them and realizing we have a dog…a dog with long nails; rooms that hold more memories then I could even try to list.
But, it’s not just the drywall, tile and fixtures that I can’t bear to leave. Of course I love the finishes we chose, but who doesn’t love things like that in their own house? That’s one of the best parts of owning a house – making it what you want! We’ve always talked about moving to a bigger home with a yard, more bedrooms and more living space. So, why the Eeyore face when that topic comes up? Obviously, money talks…and moving to our new house necessitates selling our current one. Paying 2 mortgages isn’t the most sustainable financial situation to be in. We considered renting our house, and after about 15 minutes of discussion, knew it wasn’t the right choice for us.
Ultimately what it comes down to for me, is leaving the walls where so many of my once-in-a-lifetime memories were made. Other than the house I grew up in (which my parents still own and we frequently go back to visit…thank god for consistency there and yay for KP!), this is the longest I’ve lived in one place and definitely the collection of spaces and relationships I’m most proud of. It’s been just over 7 years. Almost a decade…!?!? I moved in right after we got engaged while there was still dark brown paneling and indoor/outdoor carpeting stained with cat pee covering almost every surface. We brought Riese home to this house as an 8 week old puppy and installed a puppy door in the fence so she and Roxie (her sister that lives next door!) could play together. They’re too big to fit through it now, but it’s still there and always reminds me of little energy filled paws bounding around the yard. We celebrated their birthdays on the deck with peanut butter treats and doggie dixie cups (yes, Riese had a 1st birthday party with her sister…and yes that was before we had kids, lol).
After becoming dog owners, we planned our wedding. While we got married up in NY, so many nights and stressful wedding planning conversations were held on the window seat of our kitchen here. We researched vendors and designed the invitations on our enormously comfy living room couch. We had serious conversations about the religious aspects of our ceremony and debated the value in having a typical wedding cake vs. a dessert buffet at the dining room dinner table (for those wondering, we went with the dessert buffet. Definitely the right decision, although we’re still bitter about missing out on a slice of the chocolate ganache cake). We became husband and wife in NY, but came back from our honeymoon to start life as a Mr. + Mrs., at our palace in Patterson Place.
Life as DINKS (dual-income, no kids…in case you didn’t know that acronym, Mom!) was grand – we entertained here all the time as the open kitchen and dining room was perfect for dinner parties and the views to the backyard oasis were ideal for catching up with out-of-town family and wooing Aunt Raq to move here. Haha, did you catch that last part? Yup, my sister moved to Charm City in August of 2010 after multiple visits and we haven’t looked back since. We live 6 blocks apart. We trained for my first half marathon together step by step around the park. We’ve had dinners, brunches, bbq’s, surprise parties, super bowl get-togethers and RH marathons at our houses. We’ve
booed Georgetown cheered Syracuse on together and borrowed eggs, milk and orange extract from each other (ok, maybe I’ve borrowed the extract from her…). She’s left more sweet treats and skinny taste recipes in the refrigerator than I can count. She’s the best Aunt to G we could ever ask for; Riese trained her well. 😉
The day we brought Gabriella home from the hospital was quite similar to today…gray, cold, snowy, rainy and wintry. The difference was the feeling of warmth this house exuded with most of our family waiting inside as we emerged carefully from the car. I’ll never forget the excitement, love and anticipation spreading from room to room as we passed our tiny baby girl into one embrace after the other. We had designed and built the house up for this moment, literally. We learned how to be parents alongside some of our best friends. G and I walked to Mother Goose storytime at the library 8 blocks away and came home to nap together during my maternity leave. We took weekly photos on the carpeted floor of her room and went for walks in the park (I would give so much for her to fit in my ring sling again!) when both of us needed some fresh air. Sometimes the only goal for the day was to meet C for coffee at Van Gough Cafe and B (+H!) for lunch at Teavolve and magically, life was better after these outings.
And then, there are our friends. Since all of our relatives (except for my sister) live a few hundred miles North, our friends mean the world to us. It’s hard to put into words the incredible influence they’ve had on our lives as a couple and a family. Holiday meals, backyard cookouts, “we’re-having-a-baby…surprise!” announcements, halloween games, cookie exchanges, happy hours at Bistro, coffee dates at the Perk, birthday parties, apple/pumpkin picking outings, vacations, doggie playdates, concerts in the park, runs in the neighborhood and CSA veggie shares…just some of the moments I’ll never forget.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that this house is so much more to us than just a set of walls, stairs and square footage to upkeep. To say it’s been a labor of love is an understatement. I fell in love with Anthony as each new piece of drywall was loaded by our hands into the Jetta and carted home to hang up. I fell in love with a wrinkly-faced Riese as she galloped across the floor chasing her puppy toys but stopping at the stairs since she knew we didn’t let her up there (and to this day, she doesn’t go upstairs…ever)! And my daughter… taught me to smile through the exhaustion, breathe through the unknowns, giggle while throwing food on the floor and love more. This house will always be our home…and one day soon, hopefully we’ll begin to have a similar feeling about our new house.
Until then, I’ll just be singing this to myself as we fall asleep in the comfort of the house we’ll never stop loving…
“From the beginning
We’re all looking for a happy ending
Every dream of winning
Every love we’ve been in
Right from the beginning
We’re looking for a happy ending
We’ve come here with nothing
And take it with us the day we leave
The first and last breath don’t matter
It’s all the ones that are in-between”