Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Keeping it Real: Home Love

I like to keep my posts happy and uplifting, because I honestly try to live my life that way.  However, I’m a pretty emotional person, so often my emotions head south.

Yesterday was one of those days.  I’m keeping it real; I’m the redhead, and this is my life.  I want to share this little story with you.

I normally am a very private person, but in the blogging world that just doesn’t fly (at least not for me).  Of course some privacy is necessary, but I created this blog so I could get away from shelling everything up inside.  I tend to lock my thoughts in my brain and throw away the key.  Even my own husband is dumbfounded sometimes when I let out a thought or two that’s been on my mind, sometimes for years, that I have never shared before.  Today, I’m just letting it all out because it’s the kind of day where I need to stop holding everything in so close.  All of these thoughts become heavy to hold after 22 years.

So, yesterday.  Mr. Converse Sneakers and I have decided to try to get pre-approved for a mortgage, just to see.  Our lease is up June 1st, making our last rent payment May 1st, and we are yearning for a place to put our stamp on.  The only problem?  As of December 21st, I am no longer working since my school job ended then and I will be student teaching full-time from February to May.  We have student loans to help tide us over, but we don’t want to use them if we can help it.  This means that we are trying to get preapproved just based on Mr. CS’s income.  We know we won’t be able to afford much, because we don’t want to be house poor and buy a house that depends on two stable incomes (since who knows how long any income will be stable for), but we just want to see what is out there.  We’ve been waiting by the phone to hear back for our mortgage consultant.  I can’t wait to hear whether we can start looking or should wait until I’m working full-time.

As much as I remind myself that we were not planning to look until the fall, so I should be happy no matter what happens, I have gotten myself all wrapped up in the search.  Instead of doing what I should be doing (preparing for student teaching, spending precious time with my friends before life gets completely chaotic, getting off my butt), I spent most of yesterday glued to online real estate listings.  The houses in our tiny price range are not pretty, but I’m determined to find one we can make beautiful.  The only problem with this right now is that we have not been preapproved, we don’t have an agent, and therefore searching online is pretty pointless because getting attached to photos online with no preapproval and no realtor means the search ends there.  These frantic hours of searching left me in a bad mood.  I’m horribly impatient when it comes to reaching my dreams, so being so close to this one with no further action I can take is really stressing me out.

After Mr. CS came home, I started to feel a little better and I vowed to stop searching for a home until we have been preapproved.  However, as I was checking my email before bed last night, I saw an email from my mom telling me my childhood home is now for sale.  Gosh, just writing that sentence that is such a simple one bring me to tears.  I haven’t lived in that home for over five years but knowing it is going to be passing to a new family again makes my heart ache.


The old house

This story needs a little more explanation:

When I was five, my parents and I moved to a beautiful farm in the middle of nowhere at the end of a long gravel road on the outskirts of a town of 3,000 people.  It became my home for the next 12 years.  The most substantial 12 years of my life so far because it is where 90% of my memories are from.  My parents put years of work into the house.  Before moving in, since it was an Amish-built house, my Dad added plumbing and electricity.  They added beautiful cherry cabinets, light-filled curved windows in the kitchen, and built-ins in the office.  It transformed over those 12 years throughout countless sleepovers, bedroom karaoke sessions, hurtful words, beautiful walks in the woods, numerous pets, and lots of love.  I have so many memories – both good and bed – but each memory made me who I am today.  What I miss most, however, is not the house but the land.  On 108 acres, I had room to explore.  I would hike out to a hilltop overlooking miles and miles of farmland and write poems, love letters to boys I had crushes on, and dream of sun washed forests filled with wildflowers and undiscovered footpaths. 

My imagination and my mind were created on that land.

All of my secrets, my passions, my tears, my laughter stem from that land.

My love for an all-powerful, all-loving, and ever-forgiving God was formed on that land.

My parents built a new house on a small chunk of the land that was our former summer picnic spot.  They sold the first house when we moved to the new house.  Over time, they also sold most of the rest of the land as well.  I’ve had over five years to adjust to this, but just now, out of the blue, it is really hitting me.  They are now planning on selling the house they built, and so once it’s gone I will forever be distanced from the land that contains so much of me.


The new house

As I laid in bed sobbing last night as I looked at the listing of my house that had been transformed by its current owners over the past five years, Mr. CS tried to comfort me by saying, “I know how it is.  It’s hard to see the house go.”  I became angry with him.  He did not understand.  I had no words to explain it to him, so I rolled away from his loving arms and cried in solitude in the dark.  I’m good at shutting people out just when I need them most.

He grew up in the town with barely any land and never felt the kind of attachment that I did to that house and land.  I don’t think I could ever fully explain it to him or to anyone else who has never felt this kind of love.  It sounds so silly as I write it, but knowing I will never get to walk on that land again, that the current owners only loved it for five years before giving it up, breaks my heart.  The tears never end.  I haven’t cried like this in a very long time and it al seems so silly.

I wonder if anyone else feels this way about a piece of land.  I keep telling myself that I have all the memories inside of me - that is all that really matters – but I just want to walk the land again, the land that we don’t own anymore, that may have forgotten me by now.

Now that we’re thinking of buying a home, I think of how tied I am to the house I grew up in.  I want my future children to have a house that contains them, their beginnings, their love, their dreams.  I want land for them to sprawl out in, get lost in, find themselves in.  I am so not a city girl, but this is where I am right now.  Today, I will be coming to terms with the end of my childhood, but the beginning of my adult life that I have the power of making wonderful.  I know the switching hands of real estate will never take away who I am, but it sure hurts to see it go, always wondering if the new owners will love it the way we did.

Please tell me I’m not alone.


  1. Aw, so sorry you're feeling sad. We moved around a lot, so I've never really gotten attached to a house like that, but I can imagine that would be really tough, especially with all of those fun memories.

    Even though that land is gone, you have a world of possibilities ahead of you to look forward to! You two will have a chance to make a home together. It won't be the one from your childhood, but it will be even more special because it's all about you two and you get to experience that joy of finding and creating a home together just like your parents did! That will make what ever house you end up in feel like home. :)

    I hope today is better!

  2. So I wrote some very similar posts last year about my childhood home. So you're definitely not alone. My story is a little different. My parents made me move from living in town to living out in the country. I hated it. They've been there for nearly 15 years now and I can say that I don't miss my old house (as much). And i even got married on the farm this summer so I have formed a new attachment to it. But it still bothers me to see the new owners of my old house (there have been several of them) not take the same pride in our old home as we did. Saying goodbye is hard. I know it's probably annoying to hear but try to take solace in remembering the good memories. And keep writing about them! That's what helped me.

  3. ampardini@yahoo.comJanuary 11, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Dear Sarah: The house and land will never forget, and neither will you. All those formative experiences and memories live in your heart and mind and are yours to keep no matter what happens to the houses or farm. And the houses and farm as you knew them will live on through the who you are, the memories you share and in your mind. Decades from now, your impatient red-headed granddaughter will sigh, "My granny grew up on a big farm with a farmhouse and that's what I want someday." I grew up in a Victorian flat in San Francisco, and I've lived in five countries and three states but I'm still from San Francisco, still love the smell of old houses, the lights and energy of big cities. Even though the San Francisco of today bares little resemblance to my childhood memories of the Summer of Love and the swinging '70's, just being near my City By The Bay calms and comforts me.

  4. You are definitely not alone. That house will always feel like home to you, even after you and San have made new memories in your married nest.

    I felt the same way when my parents sold my childhood home to move/retire to Florida. It's the only place I had lived up to that point, and is where I learned to walk and ride a bike, had all my birthday parties, got ready with my friends for our first prom, etc. It was sad to know the house belonged to someone else and I couldn't make anymore memories there.

    I know it's cliche to quote songs :), but Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" really hit home for me, and it makes me tear up every time I hear it. It describes perfectly the feeling that this place will always be the soft place to land when the world is trying to eat you up.

    Chin up :)

  5. I'm sorry you are so sad..but no one will ever take those good memories away from you and you will make new memories for you and your family. Life is not static but forever changing and we must adjust to the changes. Keep the good memories but Look Forward to all the memories you have to make as you write the story of your life...Lots of Love....


Thank you for stopping by! I am a little crazy sometimes (it's probably the red hair), but I would really appreciate if you would leave a comment. I love getting to know my readers and reading what everyone is thinking! - Mrs. Ruffled Flats


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