Honestly, all I heard was the fact that this man was a homeowner. Not living with his parents. Not bunking with three or more former frat brothers. A real, live grown up - or some approximate facsimile, anyway. (Don't judge me. Dating in your 30s is hard, folks.)
He sent me the listing photos. It was indeed charming, full of historic details. When he finally closed on the house months later, I drove to visit and help him unpack. I rearranged furniture and unpacked boxes, never quite realizing how important this house would become.
It didn't take long until Larkin and I were spending more free time with John in that little house than we were in our own apartment in Dallas. The big empty lot next door provided hours of amusement to Larkin as he dug for dinosaur bones and chased friends around. The room he slept in slowly morphed from a sparse single guy's guest room (neon whiskey sign as a nightlight included) to filling with toys and stray little boy socks.
It didn't take long for me to picture that house when I talked about home. About the same time, John would mention that the house wasn't the same when we were gone. Before long, we moved to Ardmore, and after a year in a rent house, we made it official. That little house was filled with love and laughter and lines for the single bathroom.
I've moved almost once a year since college. Home has long since become where my people are, not where the curtains are hung. But there was something about this tiny little house, with it's warm wood floors and all of our memories displayed, that held our budding family together perfectly.
It had its faults. The size, mostly. What was perfect for a single guy didn't quite stretch for a family of three and a German Shepherd. The single bathroom. The tiny kitchen. But the couch was perfectly comfortable, and held hours of movie watching and late evening snuggling. John knocked himself out decorating Larkin's room when we moved in, and created the coolest little boy's room ever. The small table that hosted some amazing meals. The porch where we watched our boy play with neighborhood kids while the sun set.
Laughter bounced off those walls. Disagreements were had. Books were enjoyed. Plans for the future were made. Family was crammed in for holidays.
I'm so very excited about our new house - twice the square footage, more land than I ever imagined owning. But I'll always remember this house fondly. The house where my baby grew into a little boy. The house where my marriage was built. The house where we became a family.