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Thursday, September 17, 2015

A New Chapter

Sixteen years ago, I bought a big, beautiful, 2800 sq/ft Victorian home. The detail and craftsmanship of the of the original, unpainted, one hundred year-old oak won me over from the moment I opened the door. All the rooms were large, and the high ceilings made them look even bigger. After five years of living with my three kids in a 644 sq/ft home, I was more than ready to move and spread my wings.

After we had everything moved to the new house, the kids and I went back to our little white house with blue trim ... that the kids called "The Blue House" ... to say goodbye. We walked through the rooms one last time, then sat on the porch steps together ... and cried. We were thrilled to be moving, but we loved our little "blue" house. Tiny though it may be, if was stuffed full of happy memories.

I was seven months pregnant with Thing 3 when we moved in the blue house. Thing 1 was only three and a half, and Thing 2 was seventeen months. My next door neighbors became my friends and we are still friends to this day. When her husband saw me ... seven months pregnant mind you ... struggling to put together a swing-set for the kids and looking at the millions of parts required to put together for the storage shed, he and his son surprised me by assembling both of them when I was at work one day.

Truckloads of Cheerio's and macaroni and cheese were consumed there. The house was too small, but we made it work. As excited as we were to move, leaving the final time was bittersweet.

We finally said good-bye, piled into the car, and headed to our new home, where we filled the rooms with cherished belongings and laughter. With such a big house, I offered to host the Coleman Family Christmas every years. Coming from such a small home, I didn't have near enough decorations to do the new house justice, and began buying more. Within a few short years, I'd accumulated a forest of Christmas trees, garland, lights, and everything necessary to turn that huge home into a wonderland. Decorating it was a huge undertaking every year, but the work was worth it. The results were stunning.There are few things more beautiful than a Victorian home decorated for Christmas.

The house was perfect for me and my little kids. With almost 2,800 sq/ft, there was more than enough room. The kids all had their own bedrooms and a huge backyard with a tree house and wooden play structure, and it was in the school district I wanted. It wasn't long before the kids were flying around the yard on their bikes and swinging from the tree house like monkeys. The sidewalks in front were always covered with chalk drawings welcoming me home each day. The large rooms allowed for huge slumber parties for the kids. It was a perfect place to grow up, and I was able to give my children the idyllic childhood I had dreamed of for them.

Now, my kids are grown. The rooms are no longer filled with little boys from the neighborhood, covered in dirt and sweat, all asking for popcycles. I no longer have to step over little girls in sleeping bags all over the family room after a night of giggles and junk food. Consequently, I no longer need a house this big. I'm no longer raising children. That part of my life is over.

Tomorrow I will sell this house and move to a much smaller ranch. Although I will no longer call this place home, I'll get to return ... often ... because Thing 1 and her husband are buying it! They are as excited to move in as I am to move out. My daughter always said she wanted to buy my house if I ever decided to sell, and now she is.

I'd been casually looking for a new house (online) for years, but never saw anything that really grabbed me ... until I saw the one I'm getting ready to move into. There were several I saw that I liked, but none that I loved, but none that I even liked well enough to make an appointment to view them in person. I was beginning to think I'd never find the perfect new home in my preferred area. Until, that is, the day I saw a "For Sale by Owner" sign at the corner of a dead-end street. On a whim, I decided to look at it.

It was empty, so I pulled into the drive and peeked in the large and plentiful windows of the living room. The newly refinished hardwood floors were gorgeous, and the fireplace anchoring the room begged for a fire on cold winter nights. I didn't figure the house was in my price range, but I took down the number on the sign. I almost didn't even bother to call and find out what they were asking, but I finally did, and was thrilled to learn I could afford it! I made an appointment to see it after work and made an offer that night, then began the process of applying for the loan, as did my daughter and her husband. We were quickly approved and began performing like trained circus animals, jumping through all the hoops the banks required.

Thing 1 and her husband now have the honor of hosting the family Christmas, and I'll be a visitor. Seeing someone else's belongings in "my" house will be strange the first few times I visit, but I'll be leaving quite a bit of furniture for them, so it won't be completely alien.

Leaving my Victorian won't be as sad as leaving the "blue" house, but only because I get to come back. My heart smiles every time I think of my future grandchildren flying around the backyard on their bikes, having picnics in the tree house, doing cartwheels in the grass, learning to swim in the pool, and covering the sidewalks with priceless art.

My new home is a ranch house (no running up and down the stairs all day ... yea!), tucked into the edge of a woods (full of poison ivy ... boo). It's one story (plus the basement) and much, much smaller. It's the size home I need at this point in my life, and the woods will one day be filled with grandchildren having adventures. My old home was the perfect place to raise kids, and my new home will be the perfect place to play with all the grandchildren my kids are sure to give me ... and I can't wait!

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