A couple of posts back, I shared that Tom and I might have some exciting news to share soon. Are you ready? Yes? Here goes: We’re having a baby!
Oh … right … you already knew THAT exciting news.
What you don’t know (but will in about four seconds) is that around the same time that Tom and I will become first-time parents, we are also hoping to become first-time homeowners. (!)
I’m not usually one to spill the beans before things are pretty well underway—we waited until I was nearing my second trimester to break the news about Baby Palmer to friends and family—but in this case, I don’t mind divulging a little early.
I won’t share too many details about the house itself, although it is a darling thing and, goodness knows, I could. Instead, I think what’s more notable is how my being pregnant has affected our pending move into more permanent quarters.
For starters, if it weren’t for Baby Jacob, I would have been a happy apartment dweller until my dying day. Until recently, I couldn’t imagine why anyone with an ordinary number of brain cells would willingly obligate themselves to menial household tasks and a 30-year mortgage. Having a maintenance team on speed dial and a one-year lease sounded just fine to me.
The idea of putting down roots gave me the willies, and I had a track record to show it. After college, I lived in four states, spanning from California to Washington, DC, in a period of less than 18 months. (If this writing stuff hadn’t worked out, “hobo” was my second career option.) Trading apartment living for the joys of mowing a lawn and getting to re-caulk my own bathtub wasn’t on my to-do list. (I was stoic like that.)
Now, as my participation in one of the most permanent institutions on God’s green earth—motherhood—nears, I find myself longing for a permanent place to call home.
If you’ll allow me a few moment of sentimentality, I want the place where Baby Jacob takes his first steps to be the same place where he makes his first mud pie and learns to play baseball with Tom. I want to have one of those walls where I can mark his growth over the years. I know nothing is permanent in this world, but I wouldn’t mind coming as close as I can.
There is something special that happens to a house if you stay in it long enough. Eventually, it becomes a home, and then somewhere along the way, it leaves an indelible mark on your memory.
Take my grandparents home, for example. They built the house in 1958 and are still there nearly 55 years later. They raised three children and spoiled four grandchildren in that little home on Greenway Drive. To this day, there is nothing quite like “going home” to Nana and Pappaw’s—the same familiar smell; the same dark wood cabinet in the hallway holding my grandpa’s treasures, each with a story that he loves to tell; the same sewing chair with the tear on the seat that holds the needles and thread that my grandma used to make mine and my sister’s Sunday dresses when we were small; the same backyard swing with the morning glory vine growing up it where I sat with my grandma in the early summer mornings years ago, feeling so grown up because I was drinking coffee; the same kitchen and dining table where we have all gathered countless times for Sunday afternoon lunch.
Those are the kinds of memories that stick with you over the years. And, those are the kinds of things that I want Jacob to remember when he leaves our care to branch out on his own.
A few months ago, if I HAD wanted a house, my checklist would have consisted of these three points in this order:
1) Close proximity to shopping, Starbucks, restaurants
2) Bathtub (I love a good soak)
Now, I would like to have a home that will be like Nana and Pappaw’s someday—a place that Jacob will always carry in his heart no matter where he goes. Of course, I know that you can make special memories anywhere—house, apartment or cardboard box. But, there’s a reason why they say, “There’s no place like home.”
I can’t put my finger on why, but when we first walked into the house that we are hoping to buy, it didn’t feel like just one of the other jillions of houses that we had looked at. It’s far from perfect, but it already felt like home. In my mind’s eye, I could see the table next to the wood-burning stove where Jacob would someday do his homework while I baked cookies. (Have I ever mentioned that I want to be June Cleaver?) I could envision a swing or two hanging from the gorgeous magnolia tree in the front yard, and I could imagine us gathering in the living room to decorate our first family Christmas tree.
Moving into a new home (that’s actually an old home, circa 1966) as we welcome a new baby into our family is no small undertaking. But as they say, anything worth doing isn’t easy. I know that’s how I’ll feel about Jacob in my post-delivery hours, and I have a feeling that, if all goes as planned, that’s how I’ll feel about this house, too.