This week marks 20 years since we moved into our current house. It was in the spring of 1999 that we were looking to gain more room and give everyone in our family a chance to spread out more. In our previous home, all four bedrooms were upstairs off the same hallway. With two teenagers in high school and an almost teenager, it seemed none of us really had much privacy. So, it was wonderful for my wife to find us this house to buy and move into that July.
Over the 20 years that we have lived here, we did and saw a lot of firsts so, I thought it would be special to look back on some of those.
One of the first things our youngest son did after moving in was build a ramp, set up road signs, and begin taking jumps off our driveway. He had a blast collecting the discarded signs with his older brother and jumping his bike.
And one of the very next things we did in our new house was seeing our oldest son off to college. In fact, he barely got to live here very long as we moved in the first week of July and he headed off to college in Georgia in mid-August. After living here less than two months, our family changed dramatically. Our family of five that we had enjoyed for so long now suddenly was down to four full-time residents. It was a bittersweet moment with joy for our son embarking on a new adventure but sadness in the sense of loss of our family structure.
And just a year later, we were seeing our daughter off to college as well reducing our family to just my wife, me and our now teenage son.
That summer, before our daughter left for college, we had a pool put in our backyard. In our previous home, we had unrestricted access to our neighbor’s pool so when we decided to move, my wife knew we would need to have our own pool. I have written a number of times about the headaches I have had with this pool but 19 years ago, that was all in the future. It was all just fun!
Over the next several years, we welcomed our two oldest kids home from college or summer breaks. It was always nice to have the whole family together for these special times. But invariably, they were always too short.
Five years after we moved in, my wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in December of 2004. Our kids were home from college/graduate school for the Christmas break and so all three of our children planned and prepared a nice meal and recognition for this milestone.
Over the years, our home welcomed a number of our out-of-town family members, our friends, and our kid’s friends. With the pool as an attraction, we often had Fourth of July parties in our backyard. The landscaping around our pool matured nicely starting with this…
…and growing into this nice inviting retreat.
In fact, over the years, in spite of my complaints about the pool maintenance (just search pool on my blog), we have had many fun hours playing in the pool.
Once our two oldest kids were out of college, we also welcomed our two oldest kid’s future spouses to our home. We showed them what a loving home it was and a welcome inn for them to come to any time. Since our daughter got married in town, we were able to welcome our daughter’s future in-laws as well.
Fast forward a few years, and my wife and I were welcoming our first grandchildren to our home as well. This was an absolutely special time that expanded from one grandchild…
…to now a total of five, all of whom have spent time with their parents in our home.
This home also saw me off for my last day of full-time work as I retired in October of 2017.
In fact, prior to retirement, my wife and I talked about where we might move after we both retire. We have discussed several possibilities with children living on the west coast and family also on the east coast. For now, we are staying put because of another milestone this year.
Our youngest son who was only 12 at the time we moved here has just bought his own house less than five miles from our home. It is fun to compare that first picture of him at our then new house with the one I took of him and his family just a few months ago at their new house.
After 20 years living here, it is an understatement to simply say that our house has become our home. And as I thought about this upcoming milestone, I realized that my wife and I have lived in this home for over half of our marriage (we will be celebrating our 40thanniversary this coming December). We have seen many joyous events, we have enjoyed many special times, and our family has grown beyond just the five of us that moved here in 1999. No, this house has become more than our home, it has protected us from the elements and given us a safe haven in which to enjoy our lives together. Hopefully we will have many more years living in this home, our home!