We picked you from just a site map and a few computer-generated images. This was all we had to cling on to for almost a whole year while we waited. I would wish the days by, eagerly watching the calendar and leaping on any slither of information we were granted. On weekends we would drive by, noses pressed to the car window as we watched you grow brick by brick, with each visit, the view changing, our exciting mounting the taller you grew.
We would pour over floorplans and the Ikea website, plotting what would go where and dreaming of shared spaces we’d never had together before. A kitchen to chat about our days and create hearty meals, trying to remember those nuggets of wisdom our mums taught us. A living room to devour whole box sets, sharing a takeaway on the coffee table. A bedroom to call ‘ours’, filled with duvet hogging and long, lazy lie-ins.
Finally, the big day came and the keys were dropped in our hands. Ours. Finally. Parents rolled up sleeves to shift boxes which had been filled and stored for months, waiting to be unpacked. Flat packed furniture was tackled, pictures put up, kitchen condiments unloaded as a house became a home.
And so it began. Three and a half years of memories to come. Just one month later, a tiny puppy joined the fold and with her, she bought joy, barking and a lot of wee. Sorry, carpet…
We became a family of three, who needed to learn to exist together, to consider one another at every turn. New responsibilities were learnt, a dog to train, never-ending laundry to wash, bills to pay. It was better than imagined yet harder too. Sure, there were days where it would have been nice to briefly return to a life without obligations, where you could exist under the watchful eye of parents, but then where is the fun in that?
Because there is a great pride that comes with having your own place, whether shared or alone. Selecting bits and bobs, paint and wallpaper, cushions and candles, making it yours. And as much as the excitement will always wear off, you will never forget that feeling of freedom. Of being able to do exactly as you please.
But eventually, it was time to say goodbye. This house that we had scrimped and saved for had become too small, we had outgrown the rooms. We wanted more. So up went the For Sale sign and another picked you, just as we had, visions aplenty. And soon you will no longer be ours.
But the memories created in this shared space will be ones that last a lifetime. Decorating a tree during that first Christmas, hosting barbecues in the sun, celebrating our engagement. So much that we’ll never forget.
I think there will always be a small, special place in my heart, reserved especially for our very first home.
In fact, I reckon it’ll always be my favourite.