My wife and I had made a decision a couple years ago. We were tired of having to find a new place to live every year or so, moving in and then as soon as you are settled, packing up and moving again.
We had been out of college for a couple years but were still living like we were back then. Apartments and houses with friends, houses with siblings and then back with mom and dad.
It felt like places to live, but never an actually home.
Now, don't misunderstand me. I really liked a couple of my old apartments. One that I had in Kent with a group of friends is a year that I will always look back on fondly. I also had a pretty nice one bedroom in Austintown when I first moved here that I really liked, but that is partially due to the fact that was the first time I'd ever lived by myself without roommates.
Well, that didn't last long because I got married.
My wife and I decided to buy our first house. We pooled our money and decided that we could afford, although barely, a certain monthly payment, and went for it.
Searching for our first house was exciting. We would stand in a room and think about how we would furnish it and what color we wanted the walls to be.
We liked parts of some but not others, and loved most of others but hated small bits of some. We would like the house, but disliked the kitchen or we liked the size of the bedrooms, but were concerned that the bathroom was outside.
There was even one that we looked at that after a few minutes of looking, we realized, that it did not have a driveway. It was a house with a drive on each side, but neither belonged to it.
Then we found our house. It wasn't big, but it was perfect for us. We were a newlywed couple with no kids and we didn't have that much stuff.
''Are we going to be able to fill up all this space?'' I remember asking.
Well, we filled it, and we are now looking again.
I won't get into the griping about how the market isn't any good or how subprime mortgage rates blah, blah, blah.
What I realized just the other day, walking through my front yard over a collection of leaves that I have put off raking. I looked and saw the For Sale sign sticking out of the ground and it made me a little sad.
It was in the same place that the sign was placed when we bought it. I have a picture of my wife and I, standing behind the sign that said SOLD in big letters. It was ours.
A few years have passed now and the house that I was worried about filling with stuff has officially been outgrown.
I blame my son and his stuff for that.
We know that we have to move on because our family has grown as far as the house will allow.
It's like a goldfish that will grow as big as his environment will allow.
So, we have decided to sell the house and I have no idea when someone will come along and see the same thing we saw when we first saw it.
To most who come in, they will see a scratch on the hardwood floor and think that they will have to fix that. But to us, that is where I thought I could carry a dresser by myself and dropped it, scratching the floor.
They may see our firepit as something that will have to be taken out and replanted with grass, but to us that is where we sat with all our friends on cool summer and autumn evenings talking and laughing deep into the night.
We had our son there, and my room of college stuff became a nursery, and is now the room of a ''big boy'' as he tells me.
We painted the walls, and repainted them again.
The bathtub is an old-style claw tub which I have always hated, but my wife has always loved it and for that I have endured some of the worst showers ever.
Our first couch broke because I sat on it too many times, we had to replace the oven that we had to unplug every time we were done using it since the starter was broken and would click every twenty seconds or so.
These are little things that people on the outside would be hard pressed to even notice or care about, but they are so important to us.
I never looked at the house as my ''dream home'' but it was my little young family's first. My son took his first step in that house, said my name for the first time. My wife and I still dance in the middle of the kitchen for no reason.
There have been bad times and good and as most of life goes it will be the good ones that remain when we are long gone.
I wonder how many memories are still hanging around that house, other families and their firsts.
My parents still, from time to time, will drive by their first house in Clarksburg, W.Va., when we visit there and I finally understand why.
For all the things that you say you want different and bigger, newer or more modern, it's the simple little memories that are being left behind. Not the nails, wood and pipes, wires, carpet and paint. It's watching a baby stumble foot across the floor. It's that first Christmas together when you could barely afford to buy each other a gift, but it was still one of the best Christmas mornings I can remember because it was ours.
I will miss that house if and when it sells, but until that day I will try to enjoy the times and the moments that will forever live on in that house.