Exactly one year ago we got the keys to our first condo.
I met Chris downtown at lunch, we signed what felt like 1000 papers, handed over a few hefty checks, and then jumped on our scooter and drove the mile and a half to our new home. I spent the twenty minute ride (traffic was extra bad that day) thinking one thing, what did we just do????
Followed by, omg what if we can’t pay our mortgage every month and the bank takes our house and we end up on the streets… WHAT IF?
I’m happy to report that one year later we were in fact able to pay our mortgage (every month, as adults do.)
And there’s a few things I’d like to remember about our first year, in our first home, because I feel like this is kind of an important life milestone, you know? I recall my parents always talking about their “first home” when I was a kid. It was on a street named Taylor, if you can imagine that.
I want to remember our first night here when we slept on the air mattress in what felt like the biggest bedroom in the world. The new house noises we weren’t quite used to made us both slightly uneasy, something we wouldn’t admit until about six months later.
I don’t want to remember that Harlow had an accident on the air mattress this very night (on my side of course) forcing me to sleep on the floor, next to the mattress. Guess the noises scared him too…
I want to remember how I felt like a queen finally having my own night stand/side of the bed where I could get up in the morning. Every other apartment we’d rented had tiny bedrooms, where our bed had no choice but to be smashed into the corner of the room. But not this house. And I don’t want to ever forget how much I appreciate this.
I want to remember the night the Cubs won the series and we went out onto our new rooftop and watched as the entire city exploded with fireworks and horns and screaming.
I want to remember the first time Harlow walked up the spiral staircase to put himself to bed, his little paws pitter pattering the entire way up. The way he paused at the top platform to look back down to us as if to say, “you guys coming up or not?” This little quirk of his, putting himself to bed right around 9:30 p.m. every night, entertains Chris and I far too much.
I want to remember going into the Lowe’s by our house last November, staring up at the tallest Christmas tree they had for sale, knowing it was going to be ours soon.
“That one? It’s huge,” Chris said when I made him come look at it one night after work.
“I know,” I responded, with the crazed Christmas look in my eye.
Sure enough, we brought it home and it fit in our living room just like I had imagined it would. Positioned near our front window, a few feet from the fireplace.
And so I spent the next few weeks staying up way too late, just so I could stare at the glow of our new tree all night long.
I want to remember everything about our first Christmas season in our new home. The friends we had over, the champagne we drank, the NSYNC songs we belted at the top of our lungs during Holiday Club. Smores on the rooftop shortly after as snowflakes fell from the sky.
It was a good first holiday season.
And then came our first January… Which meant cold days spent on the couch under blankets with Harlow by my side, day dreaming about summer when we’d spend our first hot days on the roof, soaking up the sun, filling up the baby pool we bought for Har (me.)
When I think about those winter months that never seemed to end, January, February, March, April… I’ll remember the way we kept ourselves busy with constant trips to Home Depot and Lowes every weekend. Tackling all sorts of little projects all over our house trying to make it our home. Me always begging to go to brunch first, Chris justifying that brunch had to happen after the home projects, or the projects wouldn’t happen at all. (He was right.)
And finally, after waiting for what felt like an eternity, our first summer arrived.
And like two Chicago kids experiencing life with a rooftop for the first time we spent every waking minute up there. I drank coffee in my egg chair in the mornings, we ate dinner up there every evening, had wine by the fire after, and spent lazy Sundays in the sun reading books.
We made the most of it.
And I hope we never forget that; how much we appreciated every last thing about this new home of ours; the big and the small. Because when you’re doing that, it makes it pretty easy to feel gratitude for exactly where you are.
Most of all, I want to remember what it felt like moving into our first home as a couple of newlyweds only three months into marriage, just excited to finally have a place to call our own.