Tribute (part one ): farewell sweet home !
The day finally came, to close on the sale of our first home and bid it farewell. Although, we had prayed and eagerly waited for that moment, it still came with a bittersweet feeling and a big old lump in the throat. Ok, truth be told, a few tears may have been shed... or maybe I bawled like a baby alone in the bathroom. The event was in some ways, akin to the last day of high school/college or selling your first ride.
Just as most first time homeowners do, before they invest in their first home, we too, toiled, saved , planned and waited impatiently with baited breath, in anticipation of the day we would move into a home of our very OWN. The opportunity for us may have come a bit later than for some but it was in keeping with our life choices, I guess.
Most of us have probably at some point or the other, complained and lamented about how much the rent was burning a hole in our pockets and claiming (sometimes naively) how that sum could’ve very well have gone towards a mortgage! Our time came after I had just graduated from fellowship training and as I landed my dream job. I will never forget the feeling...I was on cloud nine! Finding our first dream home and moving in to it was quite the adventure, to say the least. I will sheepishly admit that we probably looked at close to a hundred homes over a span of a few years ( with a break in between from, well, cold feet). We even made offers on a few of those homes but something always just didn’t work out in the end. We separated from an agent after deciding to forfeit a property we had wanted but ended up gaining a new friend. She became our trusted agent. All this to say, the best things in life never come easy and our first house was one of them.
My husband had come to know of this home almost a year prior and had fallen in love with it . When the time came,
we snatched it up well before it was listed on the market. I recall the first time I walked in to the house, I just knew it was meant to be . It wasn’t perfect but was pretty darn close to it for me! I felt a familar sense of the comfort of home. OUR home. At that time, we only had one human child, a cat ( who has now moved with us 5 times through 4 different states) and a fairly new canine family member. The day we settled on the house, my in laws were scheduled to return to nepal the very next day. We had a cozy picnic on the bare wooden floors in the empty house to commemorate the auspicious day. Things weren’t smooth sailing thereafter though. The week we planned to move in , ironically, a tornado tore through the town which unhinged our plans. As I drove through the streets to the new house the next day, I gaped wide-eyed at the wires strewn across the road and large trees blocking entry every which way I turned. It was like a scene from a zombie apocalypse movie. I wondered where the heck we had decided to move to. It suddenly seemed like the middle of nowhere. This was of course, as my husband would tease, my Kim Kardashian response because we were only 25 min out from Philly, in reality. Our hearts sank as we surveyed the damage to our newly coveted home . We quickly realized how fortunate we were , after encountering the shocking image of a gigantic tree with roots hanging out, literally piercing through our dear next-door -neighbors house! Thank God everyone was safe.
Moving day finally came and we were ecstatic. I vividly recall our friend joking about how we needed to fill up the huge house with more kids, lest we get lost in it. 2.5 years later, we had our daughter and our friend had us imagining how the winding, wrought iron, stair case in the foyer would be where S. would pose in her beautiful, flowing prom dress. There was no doubt that we believed this would be our forever home.
I often joke that if I didn’t go in to medicine, I would’ve taken serious courses in interior designing. Growing up, my simple and humble parents would tire of finding me randomly rearranging furniture and decor in the house. I can’t tell you how many apps I devoured , the likes of Houzz and Pinterest, for the perfect paint palette, backsplash, etc. It was a dream come true. I had spent many free waking hours daydreaming about how I would finally decorate our much awaited first home.
I had a special place in my heart for the sunroom. That sunroom became the center of many photo ops, from holiday parties to family photos, baby showers, birthdays and not to mention star gazing and sipping morning tea, gazing at the lush landscaping (or breathtaking snow capped branches). We lovingly chose each item, big and small and we made the house our own over the years with our
blood, sweat and tears...and of course, some serious moola. My husband’s favorite place was, no doubt, the spacious basement aka man cave ( insert eye roll). And yes, he would frequently get lost down there, much to my annoyance. During the summers, we basically lived in the basement , playing pool, table tennis, indoor camping, and uncountable games of tag and hide and go seek . We binged on movies and played video games in to the wee hours of the night . When we were expecting our daughter, I was thrilled beyond my wildest dreams, to finally be able to decorate the PINK-est nursery I could envision.
We created memories with our kids , parents, family and friends . We shared some of our lowest lows and highest highs in that home... if only walls could talk! In the summer, we barbecued every evening after work , played soccer/badminton and made smores at the fire pit. Our neighborhood was infamous for it’s festive and wild holiday parties (the street name Legends was quite befitting) . More recently, our close friends ( now endearingly aka the Griswold’s of NJ) brought it honorable recognition by hosting an annual charitable event through the holidays .The cars would line up, spilling beyond our cul de sac for all to view the spectacular display . I had an epiphany the other day ... what if our old neighbors became reality TV celebrities one day!? Maybe we could do a cameo appearance!
In all seriousness, we had ( have) wonderful friends and colleagues, like family that we miss dearly and will forever remain grateful for. I miss my brother and sister in law’s impromptu visits from Virginia since they were a mere few hours driving distance . They seem so far away now. I also have to give a special shout out to my sisters from another mother...I love you girls! You know who you are. All of these precious individuals were our “ village“ , in the FULL meaning of the word . This deserves more of an explanation and will part 2 of this tribute.
In the end, through our nth move, we realize now more than ever, that US together can make any place a home. Even though things didn’t happen exactly when and how we had imagined ( hence, life), it is also immensely comforting that our beloved, faithful home was eventually found by a family who seems to already love it as much as we do. Good bye dear home. You are in good hands.