My last house post centred around the balance between the strange feeling to be leaving our first family house (and the first house Sam and I have ever lived in together), and feeling excited about starting this new chapter in our lives.
In the weeks leading up to the move, there was literally NO time to stop and indulge in the nostalgia of our (now previous) house. It was a case of “Will we/won’t we be actually moving??” for so long, that when it was all confirmed and we finally exchanged, we had a week and a half to pack everything up, finalise our building plans, and decide on those oh-so-important-yet-very-boring things like which boiler to get and which bath to choose (two of the most urgent changes we needed to make before we could actually make the house livable).
Then, on moving day, when the last box had been packed, and the last room cleaned, there was actually very little to do except hover in corners in an attempt to stay out of the movers’ way. There was a LOT of time to stand around, watching box after box leave the house, room after room progressively emptying. There was a LOT of time to stare at the walls, memory after memory coming back as the house began to resemble the first time we ever saw it – a midsummer house viewing: empty rooms, trying to imagine what life would be like living here as new parents. I remembered the week before Arlo was born, staring at the pristine pram all set up and ready to go in his room, the fully stocked changing station and freshly washed newborn clothes waiting in the chest of drawers (as neatly folded as they have ever been).
There was so much expectation, a lot of time to ponder what life might be like when our first baby arrived. And now, five and a half years later, I was staring at the same empty room. Without the bunk beds, mountains of toys, and picture frames displaying the names of the two boys who had now come to stake a claim to that room.
The room has changed so much since that time five years ago, our family has grown so much, but yet now the room seemed exactly as it once had, all that time ago, when I was trying to imagine any children at all.
That moment felt weird, and sad, and strange.
But we weren’t sad for long.
As soon as we got the call from the agent to say we could pick up the keys to our new place, I raced round, eager to get in before the builders, and before the movers, to take some all important ‘before’ photos. The house is going to change so much in a very short space of time, I really wanted to make sure I had a record of how it was in the beginning, before it got filled with our moving boxes and builders tools.
For the first time, Sam and I viewed the house as “our space”, not just as a cross your fingers and hope the sale goes through house viewing. We remembered the sense of space, and renewed our excitement for our renovations plans. We watched as, room by room, the builders tore up grotty carpets to reveal real floorboards underneath (yes!)
And just like that, any sadness about the old house was gone. Our excitement about the potential of our new house meant we were only looking forward.
When we found the note written to us by the previous owner of our new house, it became less about the strange thought of our first family house being handed over to another family (with two young boys, just like us). Instead, we were offered a much welcomed new perspective to refocus us on our new adventure, carrying on the tradition of our new house being a well-loved family house.
We haven’t looked back once. We’ll always have the memories of our time in our first house. But right now, it’s all about looking forward.
(I filmed a little video on moving day, but seeing as editing footage on a Chromebook is really less than ideal, that will have to wait until the (literal) dust has cleared and I’ve been able to unpack and set up my desktop PC in the new house).