I’ve been married 26 years this year – which is just crazy. Over a quarter of a century. Time does slip through our fingers like sand. In my early twenties I thought this was ridiculous, time just didn’t move quickly at all, but, in my very late forties, I look behind me and want to weep with joy and sorrow at all the memories in our wake.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to go to our “old” hometown and visit 505 Washington St. in Edgerton, WI. Isn’t it funny visiting your past? It’s like stepping back into the most vivid dream. This was our second home as a family, from 2004-2011. It seems like a like a lifetime ago, and yet it seems like yesterday. We lived here while husband completed 3 of his 4 years of medical school and all his residency. Andy had JUST turned four when we moved in – he’s now 23.
My baby’s important formative years were inside this cute cream city brick bungalow. So many of his firsts. I can still feel the weight of my four-year-old little boy as I carried him down that old staircase wrapped in a blanket, snuggled against my shoulder. I see him in the backyard building a snowman, hanging Hot Wheels on the Christmas tree as ornaments, ripping around the driveway on his bike, giggling on the couch while watching a cartoon . . . running down the stairs and screaming, “Mom! There’s a bat in my room!” (YES we did have a bat problem. It wasn’t fun. AT all).
I have such a soft spot in my heart for this Craftsman home. The emotional highs and lows that we experienced as a family inside this small house were radical.
Chris and I worked endlessly on our first two homes, especially this one. We added a bathroom, finished the basement, replaced the HVAC, replaced flooring. He did the heavy lifting. I made the design decisions. We were Chip and Joanna before anyone knew who Chip and Joanna were. I painted. I decorated. I styled. I watched HGTV endlessly. I wish I had those magical before and after pictures. I wish I had had the foresight to know that social media would explode, and I could have ridden that wave. Sadly, I didn’t. But that doesn’t change the fact that I honed my craft in this small house and explored the art of design.
I was doing more important work. I was busy raising our son, running a cleaning business to help support our small family, writing novels, and being a wife and keeping our ship upright.
Life is funny. The twists and turns are unpredictable, aren’t they? But the love you have as a family is solid. It’s an anchor. It’s a soft place to land. Our homes reflect us. They seem to absorb the love and the experiences. They hold the energy of who we were and are. I think there’s value in revisiting our past, not staying there, but just returning for a moment and marveling at the history.
Do you remember your first homes? Do you love them as much as I love mine?