Today has been a long time coming, a three and a half year recovery. We first bought as a family back in 2006. It was a condo/townhome and I felt I had made it. We wanted land, but everything at the time was too expensive – so we compromised a bit and took the condo. A new build with plenty of room for our growing family … it was a good buy. For me, I felt like I had arrived. I had the job, the wife, second kid on the way … and now a place of our own.
Eight years later I rolled a moving truck up to the front of that home. I had chosen to take the hit and move out, keeping the boys in the most stable structure I could see at the time. Felt like the man’s responsibility to be the one to go cut the new path. My hope was that I would be able to build a new life. A life I could be proud of. One that would help remove the shame I felt in leaving my family home.
Not any place would do – I had conditions. I would not accept going back to an apartment as that seemed like such a step backwards. After living in a gated community for so long, I was also looking to escape those iron bars and get a yard of my own (or in mind anyways). My first choice seemed great – until I moved in. Unsafe for the children to play outside alone and unsafe for my grandparents to come visit. Dreams of a life built there were crushed before they could really begin.
I left that place more broken than I had arrived. Out several thousand dollars, final divorce papers now in hand, and another failure registered I did not know where life was headed. Yet at that time one of my good friends offered me their rental unit, recently vacated – and I jumped at it.
Once more in a townhouse, built by the same builders that built the family home, it had many of the same character features. Instantly life started to settle. After a fresh coat of paint the place became my home, our home. The boys and I are fond of this place. Yet, it wasn’t ours.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to buy the place which made great sense to everyone but the bank. Yet, it got me thinking, “Could I?” The lenders were ok with it, as long as it did not include an association fee. So I figured I had nothing to lose and explored the opportunities.
Today, I closed.
The place is not perfect. It will require a lot of TLC. There is much cleaning, fixing, and updating required just to make it a livable space for the boys and I. Luckily, I have a couple weeks before we move. Yet, the pressure I have felt to get paperwork done, get the house passed inspection, the anxiety about maintenance now that it is mine has had me strained at the seams. A good friend asked, “Why do you want this place so bad?” to which I replied, “Because it is mine.” – not a good answer, so I thought about it more and clarified both to her and to myself.
Practically, the place has a lot of potential. While it will need a lot of work, that work should see a return. There are options upon options of things to add and update – all of which should be a good investment if done right.
Emotionally, the place represents my life stabilizing. I know have a place once more for my family. And while it is not an emotion I may be proud of, it is and I should not deny it – I feel like I am partially back on equal footing with my ex who still lives in our old family home.
The opportunity is not just mine, it is one for the boys as well. They will spend the next few years learning along side me the “fun” of home renovations and home maintenance. My oldest is actually excited about being responsible for the lawn and both look forward to a tree fort. In a lot of ways, finally I am looking ahead and seeing the childhood I always wanted them to experience.
I can’t wait to get started. At this moment I am both excited and anxious, which I have always viewed as good. Anxious not really knowing what I am getting myself into, and excited about what I will be able to create from it.
Today, I put my finger on the pulse of a dream and I start building the future.