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House of Love

(The kiddos wall...for the last 25 years.)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about houses.

My husband and I have hit the stage in our life’s journey of “transition.”

What’s next? What do we want? Where might we go?

Our sons are still in the midst of launching, so we’re a little early. But itchy.

It’s been a long nine years of college for the two guys. We are ready for the next stage. This last stage has been a challenging one. I can honestly say, the most challenging we’ve had as parents. The college years have rocked us to our core on every level – emotionally, intellectually, financially. And to hit at the peak of mid-life for us is the perfect storm. So much whirling, uncertain momentum.

As we consider down-sizing, we think about what we really want at this time of our lives.

We’ve never had the opportunity to choose based solely on what we really want. We’ve never been that free.

When first married, we lived upstairs in my husband’s Nana’s house on the Eastern Promenade.

We were so fortunate to have done so.

We grew to love city living in Portland. I walked to work downtown, smelling the morning bread baking at Nissens. My new husband picked me up at the office in the Time + Temperature building on Congress Street at 5:00. We walked around the gazebo on the Promenade and gazed at Portland Harbor most weekends.

Portland wasn’t quite as built up as it is now – although we had Micucci’s, back in the day, when their shop was a tiny hole-in-the-wall for fellow Italians buying authentic groceries. I had grown up with Parmesan in a green can; my husband’s family enlightened me.

When we left the Eastern Prom, we loved our first fixer-upper on Bolton Street in Portland, bought pre-kids as the next step in our journey. With our youth and enthusiasm, we created a magical first home. There was a lot of sweat equity renovating and beginning our independent life – how we wanted to live, as a team.

We loved even more our next “family” home in North Deering where we raised our sons. Ben was born while living in this home. He’s never known anything else…and Matt can’t remember his first home.

This second home has been a Godsend; we couldn’t have asked for more.

It’s a friendly, Mayberry, big neighborhood of kids and hardworking, caring parents.

We had ice cream trucks, sunsets sitting on porches watching the kids play, dinners at each others’ homes, Halloween nights that were more fun than Christmas.

Basketball in the driveway, pools in backyards, chalk and cozy coupes on sidewalks.

Lemonade stands.

Our street has a tarred path that leads to the elementary and middle schools. And the playground, the tennis courts, the football field.

How lucky are we that our kids walked to school until the 8th grade.

I walked with them on Sunday evenings during middle school to play tennis….and talk.

And the school’s playground was truly Disney Land to little kids who were so happy to play on the equipment that we walked to…for free. Killing an hour for new parents was such a benefit. Fresh air and free fun activity!

But now, I ponder.

I want this house, that has been such a loving home to us, to be the home of another young family.

It’s laid out perfectly with all-day sunlight and space for privacy. As introverts, we all had space within our home to escape to and enjoy our own pursuits.

I grew up in a home too small, too loud, too busy. And I worked to build something different for myself, something that suited me better.

And now it might be time to offer it to another young family who can benefit as we have.

Do we downsize in Maine?

I’d love to border on land designated as a park or a trail or something guaranteed to remain nature.

I want a 5-mile expanse for biking or walking that is beautiful in nature.

We must stay near the ocean.

I’d love to ride my bike with a basket to grab a few groceries at a local market.

I want a small pool, a gas-fireplace, gorgeous molding (bead board, shiplap), a pantry – a cottage. We’re all about cooking and have a lot of kitchen stuff -- more so than clothes in the closet.

Do we hold on?

Let go?

Move on?

Well, that’s what it’s all about, right?

We all need to answer these questions…honestly for what is right for each of us. We all need to make our own choices for each phase of our journey.

It’s time.

Houses of love are the key to families, children.

We have been fortunate to have lived in 3 – so filled with love -- throughout our married life.

No question....

home is where the heart is.

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