When we moved nearly five years ago, we said, “UGH. We’re never moving AGAIN.” At least until the kids are off to college. When we moved from the city to the suburbs in complete stereotypical fashion, we encountered all the problems one encounters when one moves. Our house sold before we had one to move into. We had to move in with a generous friend. For more than just a few weeks. Our first house fell through. We had to search again. When we found this house, the appraisal came in low. All the things. It was hard, to say the least. Our realtor and family were kind and accommodating, but shit. We were never doing that again. Unless, I always modified, something happened.
That something in my head was always my spouse losing his job. I don’t know why I went to this tragic place, for he is smart, kind, and unmatched in his integrity. Nevertheless, I always modified. It never occurred to me the modification would come true, yet in a different form.
As the stay-at-home-parent, I feel like my spouse bought me this house. It’s tragically old-fashioned, but I not only talked him into it, I also had zero income of my own at the time. It was everything I thought I wanted. Our home in the suburbs is large, with many bedrooms, almost an acre, and an attached garage. (Does a more wonderful perk exist in these northern winters?) There is a pond. Not a koi pond, artificial and round, but an actual large pond with ducks, geese, frogs, and skating in the winter. It’s idyllic, really.
This week, my “dream home” will go on the market.
Because something happened. My perfect spouse did not lose his job, as I feared. My mom died. And she had a perfectly lovely mortgage-free house in my home town. Having recently completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, we were looking forward to the day when we wouldn’t have a mortgage. And now, bittersweet though it is, we have that opportunity.
We had always talked about moving home (mine, not his, though he lived there for nine years as he earned two degrees from the local university), but it didn’t seem realistic. The niche market in which he works didn’t make it easy to imagine a future outside of the Twin Cities Metro. But it’s happening.
Our kids will go to the same schools I attended as a girl. The same public pool only a few blocks away. Most of my family is still there and many of my friends. It’s exciting and scary and beautiful and so, so very sad. My mom died, and I’m going to go live in her house.
We are downsizing, 3,200 square feet down to 1,400. Our 1998 modern home exchanged for an 1898 fixer-upper. Fix it up we will, too, with a new kitchen, bath, mudroom, windows, siding. Soup to nuts. We have a contractor we trust, and my spouse is as handy as he is cute. We will make another home together, our third in twelve years. As someone who never moved as a kid, it is strange to me that our oldest is about to live in her third home. My spouse never moved either; his mom still lives in his childhood home and has lived there now for almost 60 years. My mom topped out at 46 years in her home. I have to keep telling myself, “It’s just a house.”
I cry every time I’m in the neighborhood of our old house. I’m sure I’ll do the same with this one. Because there are SUCH good memories. But you know where else there are good memories? Every place in the world. And with fewer bills to pay, we can travel more as a family. We can have experiences instead of things. That’s the real dream.