I know we’re not moving for three more days, but recently my mind has been filled with all of the wonderful memories we made in our current house and how, slowly but surely, it transformed from our first house into our first home. As I pack boxes of our furniture and clothes and shoes and take the pictures off the walls, I know we are going to see all of them again once we open up those boxes in the new house. We’ll set up the rooms with the same couch and tables and chairs. We’ll hang the same clothes in our closet. Turn off the same lamps before we go to bed. But it won’t be the same. As excited as I am to move, I can’t help but feel a bit sad thinking of leaving this home behind.
Our first home.
It’s kind of like a first love. I’ll think back on it fondly, remembering all of the good parts and none of the bad.
I don’t think I’ve ever told you the story of our engagement, but for this post the only important thing about it is that it happened during my senior year in college. That’s right, I was a baby. A baby majoring in architectural studies, totally obsessed with design of all kinds, and yearning for my own house to renovate/decorate/redesign. As soon as that ring was on my finger,
I we began dreaming of the day when we would have our first house. We bought the 100 year old house shortly after I graduated (aka before we were married — gasp!), and our love affair began.
I asked Benjamin to think of some of his favorite memories in our house and was surprised to see that the first one on his list was one I don’t even really remember. That, like so many other once-precious moments, has gone the way of the dinosaurs in my brain. Tucked behind other, newer things, like Owen’s dimpley grin and how his chubby feet squirm when I tickle them.
The first memory on Benjamin’s list was coming home mid-afternoon on the day after our wedding and falling asleep together on the couch, surrounded by wedding presents. While I may not remember that particular nap (sweet as that memory is), I do remember opening each wedding present as it arrived and finding a “home” for each gift and realizing, little by little, that we were doing more than just playing house. I remember trying on my wedding dress and my veil in front of the mirror and knowing that THIS was the place I was going to come back to with my new husband. There is something so wonderful about having the house before our wedding; it feels like having an old friend who has known you your whole life.
I cannot even begin to count the number of hours of sweat equity we put into this house over the last 6 years. We painted and scrubbed and scraped and tore down and built up and painted again and laid tile and used tools we’d never used before and painted again. We stayed up until all hours of the night painting by the light of a single lamp. Our friends helped us build a fence around our backyard, fueled by a few cases of beer and a pneumatic nail gun rented from Home Depot. We ripped the entire top floor down to the studs and built it back up again so that we could have a nursery. This house expanded to make room for the most important project of all. Most of the projects turned out pretty well, but with a few warts. Evidence to the fact that aside from our enthusiasm and watching a lot of HGTV, we really had no experience in this department to speak of. That was the beauty of it all. The messing up. I won’t miss all that painting, though.
If these walls could talk, they’d probably also tell some stories of pretty awesome parties we threw (back in the day). I love to entertain. I love the planning and the cooking and the setting up. I love getting all of our friends in one room and having that room be in my house. Every New Year’s Eve we used to have a party complete with an ice luge on our side porch. Ahhh, how times have changed. Do you know what we did this past New Year’s Eve? Neither do I. I think we both fell asleep super early. No party. And definitely no ice luge. (Don’t get me wrong — my midnight nursing session with my favorite little boy was all the party I needed this year!).
I remember the day that we brought baby Schnitzel home too. He was SO TINY (which is amazing to think about now, because he’s easily taller than Benjamin on his hind legs and about 75 lbs heavier than he was that day), just 12 weeks old. We carried him up the stairs and set his oversized puppy paws on the wood floor and let him run around and sniff everything. Immediately, he peed. On the kitchen floor. That night he slept in his crate beside our bed and his sad whimpers, calling for his brothers and sisters, broke our hearts. I spent the whole night with my hand dangling over the edge of the bed with my fingers in the crate so he knew I was there.
We tried (and tried and tried and tried) to make a baby in this house. And then we finally did. That, by far, is my favorite moment. I grew that baby in this house. Waddling, with my basketball-sized tummy, up and down the stairs and dreaming of the day that I would carry a baby in my arms. And then one day I got to do that too.
I know it’s not the house that matters, it’s the memories. But it’s pretty amazing how one place can hold so many of the most important moments of your life.