There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
To cool in the peppermint wind.
Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow.
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends.
~by Shel Silverstein
"Anything worth doing is worth doing badly"
~G. K. Chesterton
I've been putting off this last post. Mainly because I'm surprised at all the emotions that have come to the surface with this. Some were expected, but many weren't.
In 2006, right before the financial crash, Grey and I purchased our first home. It's a townhouse-style condo located in the northern end of Seattle. In a neighborhood just a few blocks away from the zoo and filled with promise for who are embarking on this new chapter. The plan was to stay in this condo for only 5 years. To use it to get our feet wet into homeownership and then move on to an actual house when the time was right.
None of what was planned happened. 10 years later, we still own the same condo. And instead of getting our feet wet, we ended up on a crash-course not only into homeownership, but property law, finance and accounting, law-enforcement, mediation and basic human psychology.
For the past 3 years, Grey and I have talked with realtors about selling. In each case, given the market, we were told to hang on. As others around defaulted on loans and went into foreclosure, we scrapped together mortgage payments and adjusted our careers. Moves were put off and opportunities missed. Combined with infertility and miscarriage, the condo became an albatross. We dreamed of the day we'd be able to sell.
That day has finally come. On Monday, we have a meeting with our realtor and property manager to discuss putting the condo on the market. They are very excited about the space and the location is one that is very desired at the moment.
This news has left me choking back tears.
A few years ago, a friend equated selling a home to ending a relationship/divorce. That you're parting ways with more than the material. There's what was dreamed of, the disappointments of what didn't happen and/or what happened instead, but there's also the good memories. The unexpected moments you haven't counted on and are hard-pressed to forget.
Though this condo has been a burden and there has been a LOT of unpleasant things that have happened, there's also memories there that can't be replaced. The friends we've made in the building. The skills both Grey and I picked up (electrical, plumbing, basic construction, etc) and the stories that go with those skills. There's also the fact that this condo was the Beats' first home. This is where they spent their infancy. This condo is where Grey and I faced hardships that brought us closer together, learned to find joy and happiness in even some of the darkest moments we've ever faced, learned first hand that windows do open when doors are shut and just plain learned that family is more than a societal prescription of DNA and involving more than 2 people.
This condo is and will forever be our first home.
The sadness from the decision to sell has surprised me. I always assumed we'd never look back. And yet, as we prepare for terminating our titles as first-time homeowners, I find myself remembering and grieving. Missing the sunsets and views of the mountains that we will likely never have again. Missing a home we built, even if it was less than perfect.
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