Mark My Words – Saying Goodbye to our family’s first home

Shortly after my wife and I were married back in 2003, we started thinking about leaving apartment life behind and buying our first house.

The decision to take the plunge to purchase a house was very easy. Everything else that goes along with house hunting however, was not as simple.
We never had any “knock down, drag out” fights while searching for our new home, but we did have several in depth discussions about what we each wanted in a house and where it would be located.
We looked at several homes and to my knowledge there was only one house that once we walked in we both knew that it would not be the house for us.
All of the other homes we saw though, each had their own pros and cons. Usually things that were a pro with me were cons with her and and vice versa!
I like carpeted floors, she likes wood floors; we are that kind of couple!
After weeks of searching we found a house that we both felt comfortable with, put in an offer and it was accepted.
The house itself was not perfect by any means. We were just starting out, money was tight, but we had a place to call our own, even if it needed a little TLC. Besides, we only planned on staying in that house for a maximum of five years! (famous words of first time home buyer)
Over the years, we updated the house, new counter tops, roof, siding, windows, patio doors, upgraded the bathroom, a new sidewalk out front and of course a new coat of paint in every room.

Just under two years of moving in, we welcomed our first child. Then our second and then our third. Oh, and our five year plan had turned into 11 years. Time flies!
After having our third child, we were forced to realize what we already knew; we were outgrowing our house. In addition, both my wife and I were teaching in Constantine at the time and two of our three children were going to school there. It was time to put our little house up for sale.
As luck would have it, we found a house in Three Rivers that we both agreed upon,but our house in Portage had not sold. Long story short, for the past two-plus years a couple was living in our “first” home while they arranged to purchase the home from us. Sadly, that didn’t work out, so we put the house back up for sale in January of this year and the house sold.
Over the past few weeks, as the closing inched closer and closer, we started to reminisce about our first home. We brought each of our children home to that house and two of the three learned to walk there. We hosted many friends and family members at the house for the various get-togethers such as birthdays, holidays, New Year’s parties, movie nights, hockey viewing parties, cookouts and the list goes on and on.
This past Sunday, the entire family went up for one last walk through. The girls were excited as they remembered living there. To see them running from room to room saying “do you remember when we did this” and “remember that time over here” brought about a little sense of happiness and sadness. We even took the time to have them stand by the growth chart my wife started on the wall near the basement door, which was still there, to see how much they had grown. I am sure that will be painted over soon.
We shared many wonderful memories in that house. It wasn’t the house I wanted to spend the rest of my life in, but for an important time in our lives it was HOME.
Before leaving for the last time, we ate our final dinner in the empty house. Yes, we had officially moved out over two years prior, but the house was still ours and we still visited from time to time. That was all changing now. This was it. We were saying goodbye for good. Just two short days later, a new family was going to start their adventure in “our” house and as we found out at the closing, this was their first home, just like it was our first home.
I guess things come full circle. We were the second owners of our first home, as we purchased it from the people who built it just as we are the second owners of our current home, purchasing it from the people who built it.
We have already created many wonderful memories at our “new” house, but we will always remember the times at our first home.

Submitted by Mark McGlothlen

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