I had one dream when it came to moving back to our hometown after school and that was to live in this one specific neighborhood. The fact that this neighborhood was divided up into a few little subdivisions made me feel optimistic, made me feel like there had to be a home we could afford. We were only 22 then; my husband was about four months out of school and three months into his real career. The Realtor we were working with gave us a sympathetic smile that basically said "you crazy kids, you'll only live in this neighborhood in your dreams." She showed us homes in neighboring cities that didn't feel right. "No, I don't like the way the owner has her bras hanging on the backs of chairs. Nah, I wouldn't feel right buying a home from someone who is laying in bed in his underwear as the Realtor is showing the house." And then somehow we found a Realtor who lived here, too, and who saw no reason two crazy kids couldn't dream big and get something to show for it and then, there it was, our home. Our home with it's filthy roof and ridiculously bad landscaping job complete with cactus and rock and not a glimmer of green anywhere. It was beautiful and a couple weeks later, it was ours.
It was so big then. We were 22 and all "you mean YOU get an office and I get an office, too?" and pushing our tiny apartment furniture around all of this new, incredible space in awe. And wonder. And maybe not-so-nice words about that first Realtor. Friends and family helped us paint and turn someone else's old home into our new one. Into our house, into our home. I ordered address labels just because I could.
The next year, we were married. The year after that, the anniversary of our home was overshadowed by those pink lines on the pregnancy tests that said Ethan was coming. And then he came.
The big, sage green colored guestroom became his nursery. My office became our Tot School classroom. Sometimes I look around and wonder where all that space went. Sometimes I look around and want to cry because this house is so small and I question my sanity for ever thinking otherwise. I walk into friends homes and am blinded by all of the endless space, the boundless room to host parties and get-togethers. "When we move," I'll say -- or "in our next house," I'll begin sentences with. But then things happen like the missed anniversary of this house and I remember why we live here. I remember why we love it here.
This is the home we brought Ethan to after he was born, the house where he spent his first night at home. This is the home we dreamed for and hoped for and were told we could never have but somehow managed to weasel our way into as 22 year old kids with no idea what the future could possibly hold for us -- before we ever dreamed of the family that we have now. This is the home that knows the story of our family by heart and even if it doesn't have a pool and even if we only have one small living area that merges uncomfortably close with the dining room, it is ours. We were once twenty-two year old kids with a dream who never stopped dreaming and now we get to watch our son run around our backyard after dinner and it's those moments where I realize that this house is so loved.
I couldn't imagine any other place being home.