This is another long overdue, but much needed-to-be-documented-post. Almost four months ago we said goodbye to our home. Our first home. The first home that was all OURS. As in, we owned every crack in the stucco, every rock on its property, every teeny hole in the wall from where we once hung a picture, every square foot, it was ours.
I remember our long three month adventure of shopping for homes. It was during a time when homes were getting snatched up left and right because of the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit that was about to expire and we were badly wanting to jump on that band wagon as well. But at the same time, we didn’t want just any home. We looked for homes out by the Count’s grandma because at the time, we were spending a lot of time driving from our little apartment in Gilbert out to East Mesa to take care of her, take her shopping, to dr.’s appointments, and spend time with her, so that was our chosen locale. We put an offer in on a short-sale home and waited for about a month but never felt quite comfortable about it and then OUR house came on the market. Our realtor sent it to us. She drove out to us from North Scottsdale to see it and that same day we put an offer in on it, canceled our short-sale offer, and the new offer was accepted. Boom. Like that. And it wasn’t a short sale.
It was so exciting. Counting the days down of escrow, inspections, and signing papers until we got that one special brass key. I was working when we got the key so the Count got to go into the house by himself first. He studied for a mid-term on the floor with no furniture and his backpack and papers strewn about. I was so excited at work I could hardly contain myself and I remember exclaiming this excitement to my friends at work about how I couldn’t wait to get HOME from work that night. More than usual, of course.
Anyways, that was four years ago. A lot happened in that four years. We changed, we grew in our relationship, in our professional lives, and most importantly, we had a baby.
First of all, when we chose this house, we weren’t planning on having kids. If you’ve followed my blog, you know this. So, our house definitely wasn’t the best layout for having a child. It was fine for our early months and years with Finn, but it wasn’t perfect and I think that made it easier to say goodbye to it. On the other hand, almost every memory of Finn’s almost two years was spent at this home. Which made it perfect to us. And made it really difficult to sell and leave.
Packing up and cleaning the house (once our house sold, everything happened so FAST and unexpectedly) was such a rough month for us. Tensions were so high. I was working a lot of hours at work. The Count just started a new semester at school. Mom was just getting over her scary heart attack. My brother had just gotten back from a bad situation in Northern California. It was a rough period. We all needed each other’s help and to band together and unfortunately we didn’t do it so well. I think everybody felt isolated and like everybody was doing everything themselves and it was just a clusterfuck of a month. But we managed to get out — barely.
I remember the last night we went to drop our keys off the three of us went over there to say goodbye to our first home as a family. We ran into our next door neighbors who were having a party and they gave us some cupcakes and we said our goodbyes. We both kicked ourselves for not getting to know each other sooner as we just started to talk in the few months before we moved. The Count played football with the husband and older boys at the park, I’d visit with the wife while the young ones played on the playground. It would have been awesome if we had done that all along. Oh well, next time?
I didn’t cry when we walked around our house that last time. I was still sort of numb on the outside to the whole situation but I was flooded with emotions on the inside. In one huge way, it was the biggest sense of relief we could have been handed — no more mortgage for a while, which is what we needed at this juncture in our life. But I wasn’t saying goodbye to a house, I was saying goodbye to memories. I was saying goodbye to where Finn came home from the hospital, where he learned to crawl and walk. Where we saw him smile and laugh for the first of countless times. Where we put him to bed safely in his crib each night before we secured the doors to our home to keep OUR family safe. Where we cooked our first Thanksgiving meal for our entire extended relatives. Where Penny had her first backyard (not that it was much of a yard!). Where the Count studied for most of his college education and where I planned our trip to Europe. And more recently, where we had our last Christmas with his Grandma before she moved to Colorado. So many wonderful things happened in this home. We laughed, we cried, we fought, we loved, we lived.
Finn had no idea what was going on. Nothing much was going to change for him and still hasn’t. That was the important thing for all of us. He’s very much at home at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. But he ran around and had a ball that night. This big empty house where he could go anywhere he wanted for once! We were sort of rushed as it was close to Finn’s bed time (or past it) and the Count had either homework or to be up at the crack of dawn (it’s always one or the other). We loaded a couple more things into the car and took video and pictures of Finn in his first home that night and then drove away. We said goodbye to our home, our park, our playground, and our gate a final time. He won’t remember that night or any night he spent in that home, but I’ll never forget it.