Living somewhere that owning a house is not only doable, but also makes more sense for our little family than renting somewhere has been quite a blessing. If we were anywhere else, we probably couldn’t own a house. So as we enter into this new stage of life, I am learning some things along the way:
1. We are adults.
No, my college loans didn’t do it. Marriage didn’t do it. Even having a kid didn’t quite do it. But owning a house makes me think we are actually adults now. The fact that a bank would loan us a huge chunk of change and trust us to pay it back feels a bit ridiculous, but apparently we’re old enough for that sort of thing.
2. Things take time.
When we first moved in, I had many aspirations for our little place. I could think of about twenty projects that I wanted to complete: things that I wanted to change, decorations I wanted to add, or even paint colors I wanted to try. I am the sort of person that wants to tackle a task immediately and just get it done, so a house has been quite a learning curve for me in that area. I simply cannot complete all the little projects I would like to—due to time and monetary constraints!—and so I am learning a lot of patience. Making beautiful things takes time, and unless you have Chip and Jo doing work for you, you can’t change an entire house overnight. (All the admiration goes to my very patient mother who 20 years later is finally beginning to have the home she always hoped for!)
3. If you don’t have the money for it, you don’t need it.
Another crucial lesson. This was how I learned to make decisions about what I did once we moved in. I wanted a rug, a pretty little nursery, a dresser, an accent chair, more art. All good and fine things, of course, but I found myself wanting them too much. (Also things like dehumidifiers and shop vacs were more important, sadly!) I looked at home decor websites constantly and dreamed of the perfect wall planters and baby nursery mobiles. But when I finally brought myself to accept that we simply don’t have the money for everything I want, I realized that perhaps that meant that I don’t need them. This doesn’t mean that it would be wrong for me to buy something pretty for my house when I can, but it does mean that I feel much more free to embrace the things that I do have instead always be dreaming of what I can’t have.
4. Dads are great.
So this wasn’t a new lesson. But when my dad (who lives 10 hours away!) asked for a to-do list and then came to my house and did them, I was reminded again that fathers are some of the best things in the world. My dad cleaned my sink drain, changed multiple batteries and lightbulbs, and installed a diaper sprayer on my toilet. (Things are glamorous around here, obviously.) Acts of service: becoming my love language very quickly these days.
5. Things matter. Things don’t matter.
I very quickly fall prey to the feelings that my home isn’t pretty enough or artistic enough or white enough. That daily scroll through my instagram feed often makes me think my home needs a few more gallery walls, more natural wood, marble counters, and wicker baskets under windows for my babies. It is easy for me to say “those things don’t matter.” But I know that isn’t true. The things in my home do matter. It matters that I create a beautiful, orderly, peaceful, useable space for my family. But it doesn’t matter that I don’t have a uniform aesthetic or a number of photogenic corners full of the perfect decor touches. (No matter how much I might love these things!) It doesn’t matter that my bedroom is blue (why?!), or that my couch is more of a “college dorm” couch than an “adult house” couch. It matters that my family finds peace, grace, love, and joy in these walls. It matters that my husband and children can live and thrive and grow here. And it matters that I remind myself of that daily.