All relationships have a collections of firsts—from kisses to dates to homes to children, and every landmark in between and outside. Though Chad and I have been together for well over eight years, we still maintain a heavy appreciation for first moments. We probably always will.
Chad and I have plenty of sweet ones behind us, and hopefully several still to come. There’s a rather large one staring us down, right as we speak: in a few short weeks we will close on a single-family house. Officially, we’ll be homeowners. Our very first home.
With all of the excitement ’round the corner, I’ve been reflecting on my immediate settings. This rented space might not be in our names, but it sure was a first.
We’ve lived in this three bedroom townhouse since May 2017. Right before we moved, Chad and I were both students: I was sprinting toward the finish line for my bachelor’s degree, while Chad was straining to finish his one-year master’s program. We were living with our best friends Alexis and Jessica in Denver, sharing an apartment that straddled the distance between our two campuses.
We were always busy, stressed about tests and work and graduation plans and final presentations. Most of all, serious fears and uncertainties were starting to swirl around us, clouding our conversations and reflections with anxiety; where will we be living in two months? Will we be able to find a place to live?
As soon as Chad was hired to work for SGM, a civil engineering firm in Glenwood Springs, I scoured all of the listings and newspaper ads and local group pages online, learning quite a lot about our new community, but very little about available homes. (Hint: expensive, demand over supply, no pets.)
As soon as my landlord listed their townhome online, I sent a message, and skipped all my classes the next morning to drive the three hours to meet them in person and take a look. Within two weeks, the place was ours.
Our lives changed in many ways when we moved to New Castle and began calling the Roaring Fork Valley, and this two-story structure, our home.
We both started new jobs and careers. Chad found himself in a corporate office setting for the first time, while I lamented moving on from my newspaper roots. Everything was new and overwhelming, from packing to routine building to establishing a sense of place. This home saw us through the beginning stages of employment, uncertainty, and exhaustion.
There was wedding planning, too. Our townhouse has seen it all, from giant piles of décor to tear-induced venting sessions about musicians that ghosted us. It saw us through the bulk of our engagement, and was here to welcome us back home from Jamaica as a newly married couple.
Our house has been a consistent source of comfort among many trials and changes that come with adulthood and “adulting.” Major purchases, new cars, interviews, depression, vacations, arguments, loss and grief, job status, a global pandemic. Highs, lows. Our townhouse has truly been safe, comforting, and stable through it all.
Chad and I had each other in the madness, and a place to call home.
I’m sentimental. Every time I walk away from the house for an extended period of time, I quietly whisper, “goodbye, house.” Before vacations, day-trips, and sometimes even as we leave for hikes, and I just want to be sure we part on a good note.
As we prepare to say goodbye, one last time, it will be more sweet than bitter. I will be full of gratitude for this structure, thankful for the life its allowed us to build.
Bye, house. Thank you for everything.