10 years. This summer we celebrated 10 years of living in this house. Somewhere (on an old camera buried in a drawer) there is a photo I took when we walked through these rooms for the first time with our realtor. I snapped a shot of an upstairs bathroom and caught in the reflection in the mirror is the image of me holding my 10 month old daughter on my hip while my son runs from room to room behind me.
Now, here we are, with a 15 year old and an 11 year old and a house that slowly became a home. And I realized recently that I’ve never shown it all to you at once. You’ve seen bits and pieces, rooms here and there, but I thought it might be fun to take you on a tour and begin at the beginning.
The other night as my husband and I were shutting down the house in preparation for going to bed, I was going from room to room turning off lamps and I couldn’t help but think about how much this house has changed.
When we purchased this home, there were no TV shows where entire homes were overhauled in a matter of days or weeks with the results being dramatically revealed to the owners. There wasn’t even Instagram with the temptation to scroll past one beautiful room after another feeling more and more discouraged that while those spaces were so impeccably decorated and up-to-date, my own rooms were solidly stuck in 1992, the year the house was built and the money it took for us to buy the house and keep our mortgage low didn’t allow a lot of extra cash for updates.
And I’m SO very thankful for that! Because, I never once thought that our house would be entirely transformed to my liking in a short period of time.
I knew it was going to take time. I knew that we had a young family with young family needs and that those needs took precedence. I knew that we had determined to not go into debt as we tackled updating each room.
And that as my style was evolving, my confidence was building.
My kids love to watch videos we took of them when they were younger. And every time I see their sweet little faces on the screen I feel this stab of pain over how quickly time has passed and how bittersweet this whole growing up business is.
But I also feel a stab of pain when I see the ugly green carpet that used to run through our house. And another stab of pain at how long I actually lived with it.
But, I decorated around that green carpet. And it didn’t take away from my ability to enjoy my home. To celebrate as my daughter began taking those first wobbly steps on it. To watch as my kiddos rode their little scooters around in the loop that took them from the kitchen through the dining room into the front entry and back again. Around and around and around for hours on end, laughing as they chased each other and laughing harder as I did acrobatic like jumps to get out of their way.
Having that green carpet and that beat up wood floor in the kitchen and the cabinets with 20+ years worth of dings and scratches and the splintered deck for those first few years didn’t take anything away from how grateful I was for this house.
If anything, living with those things for the first few years as we saved up money to begin tackling one project at a time helped me to better appreciate it.
The other night we had some dear friends over for dinner and their precious 13 year old daughter was listening intently as we parents talked about our early years of marriage.
For all of us, those years were lean. Like really, really lean. We shared our stories and laughed our heads off and said we wouldn’t trade those times for anything in the world!
Those lean early years were foundational. None of us would’ve dreamed of being able to go on House Hunters as newlyweds and have ‘shoe closets’ and ‘man caves’ on our wish list. Frankly, I was just thrilled that my parents gave us their 30 year old refrigerator when we moved into our first apartment!
This tendency these days to want to have it all and to have it all so early in life makes me sad.
Because there is just so much beauty and so much to be learned in the waiting.
And we still have some waiting to do. There are more projects we’d like to tackle in this house.
But, some of these projects have to be delayed thanks to a couple of unexpected expenses this summer including the cost of my first ride in an ambulance.
But here’s the great thing about having to live all of those years with a house that needed updating….I don’t feel any sense of urgency over the projects still left to be completed.
Because I know how GREAT if feels to reap the rewards of patience and persistence and stewardship.
And I want my kids to know that they shouldn’t expect for everything to just come together in their homes or in their lives overnight.
Frankly, I kinda want them to struggle a little bit. I want them to have to wait, to dream without being able to immediately have that dream come true.
I want them to have to weigh their choices and experienced delayed gratification.
10 years used to not seem like a long time to transform a house into a home but in our speedy makeover culture, I think we’ve lost a little bit of the appreciation for a slower approach.
So, I’ll just be over here continuing to take my time.
I’ll look around and see things I’d still like to change and things that have already been done peacefully coexisting in the same space.
A house is so much like a person in that way, don’t you think?
I’m so grateful to all of you who come along for the ride with me and I’m so excited about what is ahead, both for me and my home.
Much love to you dear friends,