New Home, New Chapter
We have lived in our cool New Jersey town for 3.5 years now. The move from New York seemed bittersweet at first, though sweeter as we looked forward to settling down in a place that offered more room, more serenity, and a new scene. NYC is only a 30 minute train ride, but it feels like a world away, in the good sense, and we have enjoyed living the best of both worlds.
The years flew by. I almost can’t believe it. If you have followed me all along you might even agree that it feels like only yesterday.
In those years, I’ve been busy and slightly building a few local friendships. Because of the way I grew up and all the moving around I did as a child, I have an ability to not attach myself emotionally to anything or anyone without much effort. And though I have loved living here, I kept thinking that maybe I wasn’t going to always fit in and that maybe we had other roads to follow. Europe maybe, or the West Coast, or just upstate. It seemed the future was open to anything. While we talked about our future goals and dreams, our kids kept growing up. They made friendships and opened up themselves to others. My teen met a girl he has dated for more than two years now, and is now getting ready for college.
As is the case with children, they made me think, and because I wasn’t listened to much as a child, I listened and considered their feelings and processed what it all meant.
Despite my ability to shut down and keep all my relationships at arm’s length, my kids are living life to the fullest and giving in entirely. And they didn’t want to move on.
As much as they love travel and they get excited about discovering new cultures and exploring new places, our children love home. That is something that my husband and I are proud of. I spent my childhood dreaming of the day when I could get as far away from my father and my home. Yet, my children, even my oldest as he plans to leave for college, want to know that home, where they have always felt safe, happy, and loved, will always be near.
I struggled with this. I mean, I moved around my entire life. Don’t have any strong ties anywhere, or have anything pulling me back to any one specific place. But, this also followed me into adulthood, and it wasn’t a lifestyle my children ever enjoyed. And though they never complained (much), and I know they would have been happy anywhere, we thought it nice to just settle down for the long haul and give our children that sense of stability they have been letting us know they want.
This was a big deal for me. And we talked a lot about what this meant, as we have enjoyed the freedom of being debt-free for so long. I didn’t want this to hinder on our travel lifestyle and so we made sure to find a place that fell well within the financial flexibility to allow us to do this.
The process felt like it took forever at first (House Hunters is a lie) with a lot of back and forth and uncertainties, but then moved very quickly towards the end.
There were a lot of things along the way that reassured us that this was meant to be. We found someone to take over our lease, and our landlord was amicable to the change and was supportive.
Our offer was accepted quickly and we managed to get a beautiful home way below what standard homes go for in our area (plus, with record low-interest rates – honestly, I didn’t even know, but everyone says we lucked out).
The seller was good to work with too, working with us to get issues fixed (not that we don’t have a list of things to work on in this very old house) and even gifting us a few things, like some stained glass windows from an old church he renovated and an old contractor’s guide for building specifications of the house.
(Details blurred out for privacy)
This document dates back to the early 1920s, when the house was being built on farm land. This isn’t even the name of the street anymore, but it’s such a great read. The amount of detail and thought that went into building the house, many of the it remains original to the home. The seller has since sold plots of land off and built other more modern houses on it, but the original (ours) has remained. He gifted this to us at the time of closing, and I could tell he did so with the same care as one would pass on a piece of family history to another. It’s hard to describe the moment. Though brief, it was very sweet and thoughtful.
We moved into our house on a chilly, sunny day. Our neighbors greeted us right away, with a couple offering to dog sit our puppy while the movers worked. Our boys quickly ran to their bedrooms (they each have their own now) and placed a favorite item to mark it as theirs.
Our first night was rough, as I battle a nasty cold, and we adjust to the sounds and feel of this new home. My husband and I are still in shock, or maybe it’s awe, or maybe it’s both, that we purchased a home – we were so dead against it not that long ago.
We are filled with emotions over it all and excited for how this will impact our lives, though in many ways the signs are already clear. “It’s so nice to have a home where we will be staying,” said my 9-year-old. “I don’t have to worry anymore about how I will say goodbye to my friends. It’s nice to know I will still see them.”
I am enjoying this feeling of permanence, a bad word for me for a long time. They say, “A rolling stone gathers no moss” but I am finding that being still is incredibly comforting, especially as so many other things change around me and though home, for me, has always been a feeling you get from others who love you, it’s nice to know that we’ve found a place where we can pour in all that love for many years to come.
We haven’t stopped smiling since we moved in. Now, the fun of homeownership begins!
As for my travels, I will be taking on some new adventures soon. Some big trips coming up include my visiting and exploring Los Angeles with friends (and also to speak at the upcoming Latina Bloggers Connect Summit), a romantic getaway to Spain with my husband, and a family adventure to Thailand!
I am so grateful to have a family who inspires me to continuously grow and reinvent myself. I am so happy that despite growing up as a kid who couldn’t wait to getaway, I have managed to raise children who are happy to be where they are, and I am incredibly fortunate to have the ability to pursue my dreams with their love and support with them by my side.
For those who have been asking me for pictures of the house, I will be sharing them on my Chez Cain Pinterest boards. There I will share images of the house, as well as decor and furnishings that we find along the way and before and after renovation shots to inspire those of you looking for ideas.