The funny thing about a house is that it takes on a persona. Whether you assign it to her or not, she becomes more than just a thing; she becomes alive.
At least that’s what happened to us with the Victorian. When we bought her in 2012, she was, quite frankly, a bit of a hot mess. She had been neglected. She had gone into foreclosure. For three years, no one crossed her threshold. We couldn’t believe that a lady so regal and elegant as she could be, well, forgotten.
The Queen Anne in 2012
From the moment we stepped foot within her confines, though, we knew she was meant to be ours. We could tell that under the cobwebs and the cheap plaster ceilings, beneath the rotting wood and the chipping paint, that she had potential—so, so much potential. And just like many ladies of a certain age, she needed her chin waxed, a nip here, a tuck there, but that’s all it took before her true beauty began to emerge.
It feels somewhat like a gut punch to her then that we have decided to leave. Dear one, our beloved first home, it has very little to do with how you have wronged us—rather, you have loved us as much if not more as we have loved you and given us our very first home together, one that belonged only to us—and everything to do with how we have evolved, as individuals, as a couple, as entrepreneurs.
And sometimes, it’s just time to move on.
But please know, old house, that this is hardly the end. We could never bear to part ways with you, at least not on paper; no, you’ll always belong to us, to your dying breath. Just because we will not physically inhabit you anymore doesn’t mean we are disappearing; you’ll just have new day-to-day residents who we will make sure treat you as you deserve.
I’ve found that often in life, “forever” means “for right now,” and so for us and for you, “forever” was a great seven-year run. And forever you will belong to us.
As first-time homeowners who lucked into such a find as you, it was easy to get caught up in the concept of a “forever house,” thinking you were our end goal, when in reality, none of us know what tomorrow will hold, let alone “forever.”
People change, adapt, evolve. Priorities shift. What was important to us seven years ago hardly seems to matter now. We are ready for a community again. We have missed having neighbors (at least ones with a pulse). We have different concerns, new desires, hobbies and passions we want to pursue. For SVV, that starts with the garage and workshop he’s always wanted; for me, it’s a walk-in closet and killer home office/studio. For both of us, it’s better schools (and squirrels) for Ella. Because at the end of the day, she’s our numero uno.
Thank you, old house, for so many memories. For so much blood spattered on the floor boards while using dangerous power tools. For the bruises collected every time I banged my elbow going down that tight back stairway, which was often (daily). For the tears shed in the bedroom when I got news of my dad’s stroke.
For the dozens of friends who came and went, staying for hours or days or sometimes even weeks. For the thousands of photos taken while we lovingly restored you to your rightful state, the grandeur and opulence you so deserve. For the giddy excitement of buying and tackling our first house, together. For seven years of taking care of us when we thought we were the ones taking care of you.
And though we have a new gal who will be taking watching over us daily, know that you were always our first caretaker. And you never forget you’re first.
But listen, this isn’t good-bye. We’re not going anywhere, at least not metaphorically. This is “see you soon”—this weekend, actually, when we return to begin the laborious task of fixing some of your graying spots in preparation for the next tenants who will hopefully love and respect you as we always will. You will always be ours, but I’m holding out hope that, over time, you will also be theirs, too.