(house portrait by Rebekka Seale)
Well before Gabe and I knew of each other's existence...he bought a house. A big, big house in the suburbs of Sacramento with all the bells and whistles a mini-van-driving woman could want. He said he was far from meeting someone of "wife" material...but wanted a family. Being in his early thirties, having a big house for a someday-wife and someday-kids felt as close as he could get to being a family man.
Which is all really quite sweet. But then he met me. I was a mid-twenties free spirit who was iffy on kids--possibly at thirty, I told him--and not a suburbs girl in the least. On our way to the altar, we had countless conversations about the house: Gabe liked the size, the newness, the good neighborhood. I wanted something smaller, older, with more character...and closer to the city.
Gabe doesn't ask for much in life. So, in time I laid aside my arguments and decided I could make it work. Although I still wasn't sold on Sacramento, it was a really nice house! With some effort, I could make the suburban home feel like the old, character-filled home of which I'd dreamed.
On our wedding day, I gifted Gabe a painted portrait of the house, and a note:
"Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay."
Essentially, and less poetically...I surrender. Let's call this place home.
Love, Your (soon-to-be) Wife
But the past ten months have made clear what we want in life...and it isn't a 3,000 square foot house in Sacramento. We painfully calculated the number of dollars spent in mortgage payments for a place neither of us were crazy about...in a city that holds neither family, friends or oodles of job opportunities.
And so, today our house went on the market.
I don't know why I suddenly feel sad to say goodbye to this massive house in the suburbs of a city I have no desire to live in. Maybe it's because Gabe and I talked about someday-kids and home renovations and parties in the backyard...and it feels like a step backwards. Maybe it's because I woke up there on my wedding day, with my best girlfriend next to me...giggling and whispering like we were high schoolers.
Or maybe it's because a professional mover packed up the few boxes of precious things I'd left behind...my bridal bouquet, the oodles of gold mason jars from our wedding and the furniture we purchased together...and he likely threw the frost-bitten top tier of our wedding cake in the trash.
Which is the real tragedy here, because that cake would still be delicious, in any state of frostbite. ;)
Perhaps it's just nostalgia for all those little memories that feel like forever ago due to miles and miles of distance. Whatever the reason, a large piece of me is happy about this. It means money in savings. It means someday buying a new house we're crazy about, in a city and neighborhood we love.
It means one more gigantic hurdle we've jumped in our first year of marriage.
And whew, what a first year it's been. :)