I’ve been thinking about the day I’d write this post for months. Maybe even years. In my head, I’ve been thinking about how I would convey these ideas for as long as I can remember.
For me, buying our first home has been such a bittersweet experience. Yes, I am stoked to have our own place. We’re ready. We’ve been saving and planning for this for years. I’m ready for that. Yet at the same time, the apartment we’ve been living in for the past 5 1/2 years isn’t just any old place that we’ve been killing time. It’s not a crappy high rise building that allows us no space of our own.
The place we’ve been living up until now, although not owned by us, is our home. Our first home, really. Although we did live in one teensy weensy basement apartment in town for a few months right after we got married, this is the place we will remember when we think about our first home.
And so as I’ve spent the last few weeks/months thinking about the prospect of moving and planning for that to happen, I’ve started thinking about so many of the stories that are contained within the walls of this home.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of a young, newly married, head over heels couple who found themselves without a home just three months into their marriage due to a flood in their first apartment.
They would tell of a young woman who was in the midst of undergraduate exams, stressing over finding a place to live and feeling heart broken over having no place to spend their first Christmas together.
They would tell of a generous and gracious family who made accommodations for this young couple to move in within a week, in order to be settled and comfortable before the holidays.
They would go on to tell of years and years of generosity and kindness being bestowed on the young couple by the family who lives upstairs.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of a tiny little black lab, border collie mix who stole the heart of a girl who hated dogs and became her first baby. They would tell of weeks of sleepless nights, house training and cuddling as the dog hater fell in love with her sweet little puppy.
They would tell of years of writing papers, studying for exams, preparing grant proposals, applying for grad school, conducting field work, writing and defending two theses. They would tell of a BA and an MA. They would tell of a husband who supported his wife through it all.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of a wife peeing on a stick on a total whim at 6 am one Sunday morning and then startling her husband awake as she jumped on him and screamed, “We’re having a baby!”
They would tell of nine months where a couple grew together in anticipation of their first child’s arrival. They would tell of morning sickness, nursery decorating, belly kicking and some hot, hot summer days that resulted in the wife cooking dinner in her skivvies.
If these walls could talk they would tell of a husband and wife making big decisions for the man to leave a steady, consistent job in order to follow his dreams and start a business of his own, doing what he loves most. They would tell of the best decision they ever made.
If these walls could talk, they would speak of this couple laying their eyes on their first born daughter for the first time when she was brought into the world on their very own bed. They would tell of this couple becoming a family as they fell head over heels in love with a tiny 7lb 10 oz package that they called their own.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of sleepless nights, breast feeding battles, excitement over milestones and a deeper joy than can ever be explained as this family experienced the first year of one little girl’s life together. They would tell of first smiles, first steps and first words.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of this couple’s decision to add another child to the family. They would tell, once again, of a wife taking pregnancy tests and sharing, with excitement and with her one year old by her side, the news that her husband would be a father one more time.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of another pregnancy filled with (more) morning sickness, anticipation and eager excitement. They would tell of an overwhelming joy that was experienced as they prepared to make their first baby a Big Sister.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of the stress and anxiety and excitement over purchasing their first home.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of the birth of a second beautiful, beautiful baby girl. They would tell of a mom, and a dad, and a little girl all falling head over heels in love with the newest member of their clan.
If these walls could talk, they would tell of five anniversaries, six Christmases, thirteen birthdays, two mother’s days and two father’s days, along with countless other holidays and celebrations – all celebrated together.
They would tell of a couple who loved hard, fought hard, worked hard and prayed hard. They would tell of tough times and of fun times. They would tell of joy and of pain. They would tell of mountains and valleys.
If these walls could talk, they would tell you of a young family who developed their roots in this home.
Tonight, we will sleep in this home for the last time. The home that has been so formative in building “us”. The only home my girls have ever known. And that, for me, is oh so bitter sweet. So, as I look around and see empty walls looking back at me, I know they are not empty. Not at all.
If these walls could talk, they would tell you that they are filled with the stories of us.