Every year when my birthday rolls around, I always spend at least a few minutes of the day thinking of what I was doing the previous year on my birthday. Then, I see several flashes of memories that have happened over the past year. I look back on the good times and the hard times, but most importantly I get to see how weathering through those hard times turned out for the good in the end.
The first memory of my birthday last year was the tears and the heartache that came with saying goodbye to a home my husband and I had fallen in love with. We had just begun house hunting, and found this house on our first time out to look. The tall ceilings, hardwood floors and open front porch had us before we even got out of the car. We ended up putting an offer on it a few days later (on my birthday), only to have the realization through counter-offering that day-to-day, the house was too much of a stretch for us financially.
We were devastated – we had already pictured our son (and potential future children) growing up within its walls, I could smell the cookies being made and the laughter ringing throughout the house. However, we knew we had to back out. We were getting in over our heads, and even though it would be a disappointment now, we did not want it to be even more of a disappointment later.
The next memories that flashed through my head were not only our son’s childhood milestones—crawling for the first time, eating solid food, and experiencing his first Christmas—but also of all of the small ‘no’s’ we had to say over the year. The times that I really wanted to buy that shirt, coffee, extra pair of pants for the baby, or anything else that we really didn’t need. We wanted to have that feeling again–falling in love with a house–and have the budget and financial resources to make that goal happen.
And we did, eventually. We said ‘no’ to a lot of material fluff in our lives and it was a struggle throughout the year. There were times when it strained our relationship. But, we both had the end goal in sight—a house that we could make a home, filling it with memories for our family.
I am now typing this from the computer desk in the house we bought just two months ago. I am still surrounded by boxes, with a baby crying in the background as he fights sleep tonight, but we’re here, in our own home. One year later, daily sacrifices, the determination to achieve our goal and the teamwork in our marriage to make ends meet bought us this house. I am really proud of us. I wonder what will flash through my memories next year.