I met with a realtor on Saturday. I gave him our basic requests: a house close to the kids' school, three bedrooms, two baths, a backyard. What I didn't tell him was that I can vividly remember the vision board Ed & I created in 2008. The one that sat next to the desk in our two bedroom apartment in Admiral (hidden a bit because we felt a little silly). The vision board that had us paying off enough debt to work towards a downpayment on a house.
Honestly, the dream of owning a home was nearly a joke. There was no logical reason to believe it could happen anytime soon considering the amount of debt we had accrued while also collecting substantial college loans. If we were smart, we would have expected to buy a home in ten or fifteen years. But that was too long. So, I found a picture in a magazine of a house that looked nice to us, cut it out and put it on the bulletin board. Somewhat randomly, we picked FALL 2012 as our target and wrote it in big letters, cut it out and put it beneath the picture.
By August 2011 we could -amazingly- see possibility in our fall 2012 goal. We couldn't see exactly how the downpayment would happen, but we had worked and planned toward 5% down. We knew it wasn't exactly prudent, but we had good jobs, good credit, and a dream, dammit. We set a date with our good friend, a banker, to discuss turning our goal into reality. We were going to meet on November 5th.
Plans change. Ed crashed to the ground while coaching Jack's soccer team. He died before noon on Saturday, October 8th, four days before our fifteenth wedding anniversary. And. Everything. Stopped. Then, it was all different.
"They" say not do make any major changes the first year. I would argue that NOT continuing the momentum towards finding a home by this fall would actually count as a major change, at least that is what my gut tells me. So, I'm looking. I'm looking for that one place that alluded us for fourteen years while we established a family identity, pursued academic and professional goals, learned how to be an amazing team, and scratch the surface of moving beyond surviving to thriving.
I plan to log the search. I realize there will be a tension related to finding a home that logistically and emotionally suits this new family of three as I'm working toward a goal represented by our old family of four. In many ways, the search will mirror the grief process. It's hard enough, so why not include kitchen layouts in the process?