On a recent November day, while trying to find a family photo to send to my aunt for the annual family calendar, I stopped by this (my) little blog called Domestic Bliss: In Pursuit of a Happy, Heavenly Home.
I was suddenly struck by the title I had chosen a goodly number of years ago. Apparently I don't always read the fine print, even my own! The title caught my eye this time because, while I am certainly of the perpetual mindset to create a safe and comfortable haven for my family, we were, at that very moment, actually in physical pursuit of a happy, heavenly home...
We have been living with my (kind, generous, patient, & forgiving) parents for the past five months, in a sort of real estate purgatory (read: a great situation, but not our ultimate goal). We have been hunting property that entire time (and for months before!). In the course of our search, we made offers that weren't accepted. We saw listings for houses we loved that were snatched up before we could even get in to see them. I even fell in love with a house that was very much too small for our family, and grieved over that fact for a few weeks. I saw one particular house that I never ever wanted to see again the first time I went in. But in a twist of reality that has made me grateful that I am not the mastermind of my own life, that very same house is the one we just bought.
Q: So, if I really don't like the house, why am I SO VERY EXCITED about moving there?
A: Because I know I will love it.
The sellers of this house have lived there for almost 40 years, and have made the house their home in so many ways. They raised their children there. When a son passed away tragically, their friends planted a tree in the backyard in his honor. They have maintained and kept the house well, and were only selling now because the upkeep was becoming too much for them. They loved this place and their kids and grandkids and great-grandkids came back to visit them here. That is the future that my husband and I want. A house for entertaining friends and family, a space to be cozy and safe, and a place that our kids will want to come back to with their friends and (in the future) their own families.
Even though this house was unapologetically uncomfortable to me as a home buyer at first because of the sheer number of images of THEIR family and faith life literally covering the walls, refrigerator and mantel, I have come to realize that that is what we should have been looking for all along. We WANT a house full of life and joy - one that openly shares our Catholic faith and love of family with everyone who enters - and that is exactly what they were advertising. There was no home staging here, and clearly they did not attract throngs of interested buyers, but I believe this house was being saved for us, and we were waiting for it. I think we were as much a blessing to the sellers as they were to us.
I am thrilled that we will get to be the next stewards of this place, and I look forward to pouring on the energy and elbow grease to make it OUR home now. And, even though we will make many cosmetic and functional changes to meet our family's unique needs, I want to preserve the atmosphere of hospitality and generosity that clearly thrives here.
I should have no shortage of material to blog about in the near future, but I have an inkling that there may not be quite as much available time until we are settled in. I guess we will see what happens. But I am committed to taking before-and-after pictures, and I might just make 2014 the Year of the New House. Prepare yourself, the
work fun has already begun...