14 years ago this week I happily signed a thick stack of paperwork making me the proud owner of my current home. I remember clearly the first time I saw my house. After months of looking, two offers that had fallen through, and the end of a 6-month lease looming on the horizon, I was discouraged and worried about finding a place that met my criteria and timeline.
6 1/2 months earlier I'd finally found the courage to walk out on an unhealthy, unhappy marriage. Soon after, I signed a 6-month lease on a small apartment in the basement of a house. Wracked with guilt about the major upheaval and turmoil I was causing in my 4-year old daughter's life, I was determined to find a new home for us to live in by the time my lease was up. My criteria was pretty narrow. I had a limited price range and needed to remain close to my former home and ex-husband, as we would be sharing joint physical custody of Gillian. My ever-patient realtor spent months looking at houses with me. He always took my calls when I would bother him with a request to see yet another house on the market. He would sometimes tell me "You don't want that house. It isn't what you're looking for." Still, he would show it to me. And then I would agree with him and the search would continue. I'm not sure how he tolerated me as a client!
Time was running out and I was feeling a little desperate. One Sunday I was driving around the neighborhood where I wanted to live and turned onto a street I didn't remember going down before. I spotted a For Sale sign and stopped to grab a flyer. This was my house! Everything about it was perfect. Except the price. I couldn't afford it. I remember driving away wanting so much to live on that street - in that house - and feeling so sad that it was just out of my reach. Several weeks later my realtor called. He said he'd found the perfect house for me and the price was about to drop. A lot--down into the upper end of my price range. He'd set up an appointment for me to see it and said I should be ready to make an offer if I wanted it. Then he sent me the listing information for it. It was my house!
Yes. The house was perfect. It was just what I wanted. Somehow, every little thing worked out. There were plenty of bumps in the road, and yet, in the end, here I am. To this day I marvel at how it all somehow worked out so perfectly. Six months after doing the unimaginable, I'd managed to find and purchase a home for me and my daughter. Finding a home for the two of us mattered so much to me. I wanted a permanent place for her, not an apartment or a series of rental homes. I wanted to give her roots, and hopefully, some sense of security. I don't know if I succeeded. I hope in some small way I did.
|Gillian, back in the days when she would put on impromptu |
concerts while unloading the dishwasher.
When I was first handed the keys to my home I had no idea what the next 14 years would bring. Things haven't turned out even close to the way I imagined they might back then. There have been plenty of sad, unhappy moments under this roof. Mostly though, this has been a place of happiness, healing and peace for me. I moved into this home as a newly divorced single mom, more than a little scared about taking on such a big responsibility alone. I've grown up in this house, and discovered that I'm stronger and more capable than I ever imagined I was back then. Many happy memories and cherished moments with loved ones have happened here.
There was a time when I couldn't imagine my future anywhere but here. My world has opened up now. I doubt that I'll grow old living in this house. Right now, I have no idea where I'll be living or what I'll be doing in 14 years, which is just fine. For now, I'm content knowing long, sunny summer days and warm nights are on the horizon. I'm happy here and now and looking forward to what the future may bring. Whenever I sit on my back patio gazing east at the mountains that are so close they seem like part of my back yard, I say a silent little thank you to the universe for making my long ago dream come true.