It felt right.
Everything about it felt right.
Well, almost everything. I'll admit, some repairs were needed. And yes, some updates were in store. But the oversized, cozy, eat-in kitchen more than made up for the living and dining rooms, both decorated with wallpaper that perhaps had been in vogue when purchased circa 1971.
Despite the hideous wallpaper (which has since been torn down), the house met all of our criteria for that long-desired "dream home."
My husband Bob and I found this house thanks to my new job, which required my family to relocate from central New Jersey and look for living space two hours to the south in the spring of 2004. The sale of our tiny townhouse gave us the money we never thought we'd have to make a down payment on a single family home. A small down payment, but a down payment nonetheless.
We moved into our dream home and two months later, I watched my 7-year old daughter Melissa board a yellow bus, enroute to start first grade in a new school, in a new town.
A new town with new friends to make! A new town with parks and playgrounds to explore! A new town with parades and festivals, quaint boutiques, and neighborhood restaurants where you'd be sure to run into familiar faces week after week.
Our home played host to holiday dinners and birthday celebrations, sleep overs and pool parties. Our home played host to many a night spent helping Melissa with home work assignments, rehearing for school musical auditions, planning youth group events, watching movies together, or simply talking about school, friendships, and of course, boys. Many a night we sat in comfortable silence in the living room, Melissa working on the lyrics to an original song, while I held the computer on my lap, working on yet another blog.
I knew that the days in our dream home were numbered. I knew we wouldn't stay there forever. I knew that the Barbie dolls and building blocks that littered the living room floor would soon give way to video games and DVDs, backpacks and text books, and finally, college applications. And I knew that once my Melissa traded the safety and security of our dream home for a tiny dorm on some far away campus that Bob and I would be getting closer to trading in our dream home for something smaller, more manageable.
I just didn't think it would happen so soon.
My heart didn't want to let go. My heart wanted to hold on. My heart clung to precious memories of a place where Bob and I raised a sweet little girl and watched with awe and wonder and pride as she transformed into a beautiful, talented, smart, creative, ambitious young lady. A young lady in her senior year of high school. A young lady all too ready to take her rightful place this autumn as a freshmen at American University in Washington, DC, three hours away.
My heart held on, but I knew better, and so did my much more logical husband. College came with a price tag, and Bob convinced me that reducing our monthly mortage payments by downsizing would certainly help.
So today, a "For Sale" sign adorns our front lawn and before long new owners will make their own memories within these walls.
We plan to stay in or near the town we have grown to love. But no matter where we go, or where we live, the dream home where I raised my baby will always be mine. It will live on in precious memories.
It will live on in my heart.
Lisa Weinstein is a South Jersey mom who blogs about parenting a teen, coping with middle age and celebrating nearly two decades of marriage. This post was adapted from her blog, The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein.