I woke up this morning to a lovely notification from Facebook that my husband and I have been “friends” for 11 years with a link to our top moments. At first, I laughed because, c’mon, it’s Facebook. Then I totally gave in and watched the video. Seeing a decade-plus montage put together by an algorithm is, shall we say, interesting. But, it helped me relive a few awesome memories. Buried in the video, quick to pass and easy to miss, was a picture of us taken the day we closed on our first home. I could feel the nostalgia wave hitting hard.
When my husband and I first started looking at houses, my mom offered up some advice. “Remember,” she said, “a house is not the same thing as a home.” I shrugged it off as another one of her sappy isms and jumped right into looking at houses. Our criteria vague list of wants included: something we liked and somewhere reasonably close to our jobs, preferably with 4 bedrooms. We were first-time homebuyers, we didn’t know.
All the usual questions ran over and over in my mind. “Move-in ready vs. fixer upper?” “How much house can we really afford?” “What about the neighborhood?” “Are the schools good if we decide to have kids?” And the classic, “Can I see myself living here?”
The more houses looked at, the more confused we got. Everyone from our parents, to our realtor, to the random cousin you see once a year, kept telling us finding the right house is like meeting “the one” in that you’ll know it when you walk through the door. For some people, that’s possibly true. For me, the fairytale moment of awakening never happened. Although, we did find a house we loved…. and still do. But it happened via some real, honest conversations with myself, with Owen and with our realtor. It was a real learning experience, on so many levels.
We’ve been in our home for several years now. I love all the same things I loved from day one. Over time, I’ve learned to appreciate, maybe even smile at, the quirkier bits of our home. They give it character – the hallmark of a Joanna Gaines design, which is something most people seem to want these days.
I’ll admit that every so often I can’t help but look at real estate listings. Usually on my phone and almost always on days when some typical homeowner issue pops up, like a clogged sink or an annoyingly squeaky door (I have several). Sometimes I just look at listings of the same home model for inspiration because I love my home too much to move just yet.
Turns out, my mom was right, which brings me to my final point. When I first saw the Philly Lifestyles blog, I immediately fell in love with the overall vibe. Most importantly, Tara’s message really resonated with me. “Where lifestyle meets home.” In so many ways, it’s the modern take on my mom’s words of wisdom, and it’s everything I learned from buying my first home, in one eloquent sentence. It’s about making a deeper connection, finding something that can be an extension of yourself, and seeing the full potential.
I never admitted any of this to my mom. But now after my wave of Facebook-induced nostalgia, I’m going to call her and say thank you. Actually, I’ll tell her over dinner, in my home.
— Francesca Dellelci Hoxie, Contributing Blogger and all around Badass Woman