We sold our old house yesterday. Commence in the throwing of confetti and general celebrating!
I have wanted to talk, Tweet, Facebook, Instagram and generally shout about the process since we accepted the offer from the buyers while in Chicago for BlogHer ’13. But after my initial announcement that the house was under contract, I didn’t say another word on social media or the blog. I don’t believe in superstitions, but the whole process stressed me out so much. I didn’t dare write about it in case it fell through; I didn’t want to jinx it or eat crow if something happened and this wasn’t “it.” I also approached the buying of our current home in the same manner: SURPRISE! WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!
But back to selling the old house: Two years after listing the old house and 18 months after buying our current home, she’s sold. 18 months after paying two mortgages, we will pay only one mortgage payment next month. Sweet sighs of beautiful relief.
After finally exhaling the breath I’ve been holding for about, oh, 15 months, I got reflective on how we’ve changed as a family over the course of our home buying years. Part of the reflection can be pinned on the buyer’s mortgage lender guy, the same guy that did ours when we bought the old house in 2006! As he looked at us, and then did a double take at two sons instead of one, I realized we’ve changed a lot over the years.
Take for example, this picture of my husband, shooting me an annoyed look on the day we bought our old house in February 2006.
He just wanted to get inside, out of the cold, with our three-month-old, chubby-cheeked BigBrother. Also, he might have been hangry before hangry was a thing. I now recognize that look in his eye quite well.
Back then, our family was just the three of us. We were figuring out how to be parents, how to communicate like adults in a marriage, how to manage work-life balance, how to be new home-owners, how to manage life in general. Eventually LittleBrother joined the family and we learned we needed to learn more about parenting, especially about parenting two instead of one. We learned how to be an immediate family of four. We spent a lot of time learning about ourselves in our old house.
We were young back then, with our first house purchase. Young as a married couple, young as a family, young in chronological age which means, while not the determining factor on maturity, we were young in life experience as well. We were wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to take on home improvements and life in general.
Then we got older. And wiser. And possibly (definitely) tireder.
In 2012, we looked like this on the March afternoon that we purchased this house:
Please note that my husband is very hangry in that photo. So very hangry.
We were intensely happy with our home purchase — huge back yard! home office for me! giant playroom -slash- family room for the boys! all the space! all the normal neighbors! hooray! — and quite optimistic about the “improving housing market.” Surely that meant our old house would sell soon.
Paying two mortgages for 18 months was never the plan, but it became the reality. I plan on writing more about that in another space at another time, but know that we survived. We aged a lot, both in gray hairs and in life experience. But we also thrived.
And yesterday, we looked like this:
The look on the two adults’ faces in that photo? The word you are looking for is relieved, as Alexandra stated so perfectly on Facebook. Relieved indeed.
We plan on being here, in this home, for years and years to come. Lots of projects remain: the kitchen needs an overhaul, I still need to paint the awful bathrooms, eventually we need non-70’s carpet in the playroom -slash- family room, general updates here and there. We’ll grow and change a lot more over the next seven-and-a-half-years — and beyond.
I imagine when I look someday back at the relieved looks on our faces in yesterday’s photo, I will think of the time that came immediately before — the two mortgages, the waiting, the stress — with something less intense than I feel at this precise moment. It’s still new and fresh; I still feel like licking my wounds a little bit. I hope when I look back on the stresses, I can say without a doubt, “It was hard, but it was the right thing for our family.”
You know, like so much of living life and making decisions as a family. So hard, so right.