We moved from our old house in Houston to New Braunfels six years ago and I wrote this “love letter” to the house on our final days in Houston. Over the past seven years in our new house we’ve made many wonderful memories, but they can’t compare to the memories made in that first home.
If you’ve ever mourned leaving a place–especially a home where many milestones and memories were made–perhaps you’ll relate to this ode to my favorite house ever, written during a fit of melancholy, as the packing began.
1253 Live Oak is where all the “good stuff” (thus far) has happened. I brought my babies home to this house. Those early, bleary-eyed days and nights of trying to figure out how to care for a newborn happened here. I rocked my babies to sleep and put them down for naps in this house while the sunlight streamed in through their bedroom windows. We learned about the families of birds in our trees and watched a mother screech owl teach her little ones to fly from the safety of our fence.
We enjoyed seven Christmases here. Both kids’ first Christmases took place here–from babies who didn’t quite understand what was going on, to preschoolers who suddenly and enthusiastically grasped the magic of the season.
We endured a Category 4 hurricane in this house. Behind the safety of our boarded up windows, I remember laying wide-eyed in bed (pregnant in my first trimester), in the middle of the night, listening to the wind howl unceasingly and unrelenting outside–as if a 747 was landing in our backyard–as my husband and toddler lay peacefully asleep next to me.
The morning after the hurricane, we awoke to find a tangled jumble of leaves and limbs in our backyard and a fallen tree, miraculously felled away from our bedroom, yet onto the power pole, rendering us without electricity for two weeks.
I felt immensely safe in this home. Its brick walls and solid 1950’s craftsmanship wrapped around my little family, holding us tight through the eye of the storm, just as the brick walls had done for its other families in the hurricanes of the past.
Many a meal was cooked in this kitchen and I’ll never love another kitchen as much as I love the remodeled one that my husband worked on for months. Designed and decorated by me, I’ll always feel like it was the perfect marriage of 1950’s ranch and modern charm. Crisp and clean with its white cabinets and farmhouse sink (way before Joanna Gaines made them trendy, thank you very much!), the kitchen was my favorite room in this house and the room where I logged most of my hours.
Our beloved backyard, was beloved by many and the location of so many playdates. Even in the dead of summer, it always feels just a little cooler back there. In the spring and fall, when we would see any Painted Lady butterflies, we always speculated on whether or not they were some of the ones that my daughter hatched and nurtured from her butterfly habitat (a birthday gift from a dear friend in 2010). Hummingbirds love the shrimp plants and the cannas and sometimes perch right outside the master bedroom window, so that you can see them in a rare, up-close position.
The neighborhood park was an almost daily outing for us for so many years. At first, with an infant in the Baby Bjorn, strapped to me as I walked the trails, then when that baby got old enough to toddle, all she wanted to do was challenge her walking capabilities (and my nerves) by teetering on the edge of the bridge of the playscape. Over the years, the playscape there has shrunk, as my children have grown taller and more physically capable.
This will always be the first house that my kids will remember living in. Perhaps they’ll dream of this house in the middle of the night, groggy with fleeting images of the hallway or their bedrooms. Maybe it will represent a safe haven from scary monsters or maybe it’ll always be the place that they’re seeking in their dreams. Perhaps, one day when they’re grown and purchasing a home for themselves, they’ll see a detail in another house that reminds them of this one and it will feel familiar and comforting and cause them to decide that “this house is definitely ‘The One.’”
I know many families have come and gone from this house over the years, some staying longer and some not as long as us, but this home will forever have a piece of my heart.
My family has grown a lot since we moved away (both physically and emotionally), and we certainly wouldn’t fit as easily or as comfortably in that house now as we did back in 2013, but 1253 Live Oak is where we became a family and, for that, I will always be grateful.