While many people in my personal life know that my husband and I have been working on purchasing our first home, this is the first time I’m sharing it here, with you.
I especially want to talk about buying the house here today because: A) it explains why I’ve not had time to write lately and B) Today is closing day.
At 4pm, we will begin the lengthy process of signing papers. The loan has been applied for and approved. The title company is prepared for our arrival. All that is left is the final, solidifying signatures from buyer and seller. When we are finished, and the keys are handed over, we will officially be homeowners.
And the best part is this: the house we are purchasing is going from my grandparent’s hands to ours. I’m so excited that this beautiful home, a place where I spent half of my childhood, will now be ours to fill with love and family.
It’s been a big job, though – and very emotional. There has been a lot of cleaning/packing/yard work in the last month. It’s been difficult to touch things and move things without feeling like an intruder. The house is littered with memory bombs that halt all progress because I sit, and sometimes cry, and remember.
A few weeks ago, on the first day I went over to clean and pack my grandparent’s things, I took a couple of hours with notebook in hand and just wrote about what I remembered, what I hoped to have in the future with this home, and individual memories that came to my mind when I visited each room.
I’ll eventually share these stories with you, but for now there is too much to write and so much more to do before we can move in. We’re just going to have to take it one day at a time, and when I have a moment to sit and write, I will.
I’d just like to close with the first thing I wrote that day, when I couldn’t do one thing until I gave myself the chance to remember, one more time:
Memories of the red and white house: from top to bottom.
I came to the house today to clean and pack, but I can’t go any further until I sit down to remember this home as my grandparent’s house, not mine.
I still can’t believe sometimes that this will be our house. I get excited when I look at the rooms and make plans, and then I feel like an intruder because I’m imagining changing the wall color, removing wall paper, and putting my own furniture in place of theirs.
I think of Grandma and how much love and time she put into this house and it pains me because I have to strain to remember it that way. Right now, it is all boxes and piles and furniture moved every which way. In a way, it has already begun to be undone. This is what I see, the boxes and piles, so this is what I remember of this house.
But it wasn’t always this way. Differed maintenance. Dusty. Dirty from foot traffic. Needing paint and some TLC. It was a hub, the central spot for family get-togethers, a place where many could gather and sit in dining room, kitchen, or study to catch up. It was also a temporary home for so many family members and friends alike when we needed a place to stay. (Between my first two years of college, I moved back to Duluth for the summer and I don’t think it was even a question where I would stay since my parents had recently moved to Kansas. I stayed with my Grandparents.)
Don’t get me wrong, I think my grandparents have done an amazing job with what they could being 88 and 89 and living together at home, getting help from family to do the heavy house work. I am honored to have this opportunity to bring it back to the state it was in. I can pack, I can clean, I can paint, and I can try to put as much love into this home as they did.
But first I have to remember where this house came from before I can move on to where it will go.
Grandma and Grandpa bought this house in 1955. I believe my uncle was around 2 years old, and my dad was born about a year later in 1956. My dad was a newborn baby in this house.
Another interesting fact: both my Grandmother and I will have purchased and moved in this house at the same age. She was 31 years old in 1955 and I’m 31 years old now.
I remember this place as my grandparent’s house, but I’m sure my dad and uncle have even more memories growing up here in the 60’s and 70’s. Me – I remember freshly baked cinnamon rolls and Halloween nights trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. Beautiful and abundant spreads for Christmas with decorations everywhere. Love. Affection. Support. And the woman who taught me about life and was one of the biggest influences on who I am today.
Once, in an interview, Steve was asked who was his role model. When we were talking about the questions he was asked later, and he told me about this one, I said, “I wonder what I would have answered.” And we both paused for a second, then he looked at me and said, “Well, your grandma, right?” And I knew in my heart that was true.
Of course there were many role models in my life, but Grandma – you taught me so many things: how to work hard and see a project to its end, how to get things done because it’ll “just take a second,” how to love unconditionally, how to make Swedish Egg Coffee. To be generous, selfless, honest, kind and caring. You are a beautiful gift from God.
Now I sit in the attic to work my way down the house. Visiting each room to reflect on the first memory that enters my mind as I walk through each doorway. To remember her home before it becomes mine. Before we pack everything up and smudge the memories.
Oh, you’ll always be here with me, you and Grandpa. You are in these walls, in every creak of the floor, in every crack in the ceiling. But, more importantly, no matter what I decide to do with these walls, floors, and ceilings – you will always be in my heart.