I've been reading and watching on home television how people have been buying new houses, downsizing from large houses, trading single homes for condos, and moving to new homes for their jobs. It seems that moving is the thing to do, and I haven't heard a lot about those empty nesters who have chosen to stay in their family home.
There are times when it sounds really exciting to me, the idea of decorating new spaces, exploring new places, packing up and starting over in a new place. Now, though, when I sit on my deck in this early summer we've been experiencing here on the shores of Lake Erie, I realize just how much I love this place I've lived in for so long.
So I thought I would share why staying in what I consider my family home is important to me in hopes other readers will identify with and relate to my story.
Homeowner Shares Family Home Story
42 years. That's how long my husband and I have lived in our home in Erie, Pennsylvania.
We bought our three bedroom two and a half bath Colonial style house newly built in a small development near our children's eventual high school. It was before development houses were all so close you could see in your neighbors windows from yours. Although it backs up to a small grove of trees, there were no trees on the new streets, or in the yards. It was bare, and fresh and everything in the house smelled new. We were a young couple with two small children and it was probably one of the best days in our lives when we walked through that front door of our first new home. Three children were raised in this home, and we now have three grandchildren who like being here when they visit and remind me of our children when they were young.
Remember shiny striped wallpaper?
We've had the walls in the kitchen and family room either painted or wall papered at least 8 times since we've been here. There was the year we put up that shiny gold and maroon wallpaper. Another when we did the sponge painting thing. We've tried light colors and dark colors and just plain white.
Our flooring has been wall to wall carpet, laminate, wood and tile. Our kitchen has had the horrid green color appliances, white ones, stainless ones, and black ones. Square sinks, round sinks, pedestal sinks, bowl sinks. Four sets of family room furniture, three of dining room furniture. The living room has been a play room, a sick room and a room that just looks nice but no one actually lives there.
In our lovely back yard with tall trees and our twice replaced deck we have had my sister's wedding reception, three high school graduations, a college graduation, a party a year for our dinner club friends, the after event of my mother's funeral, our grandchildren's first birthday parties, wedding and baby showers for daughters and nieces and plenty of summer holiday celebrations.
The family room is where I rocked my third baby and where my mother rocked herself as she grew old. It's where my oldest daughter told us she was engaged, and where my husband watches football every Sunday in the season.
A House Full of Memories
In the basement are bins and bins of all the memories of this house, things I have been unable to part with, and collections from my “auction crazy” period. Probably I could sell a lot of these things on e-bay, but I'm just as happy to have them stored away in case one of my children might become enamored of antiques as I did. Our garage has been the site of garage sales, temporary storage for the equipment for my husband's steel fabricating business, temporary storage again for my son's things in between apartments, and the site of many rained out barbecues.
My son's bedroom is now my husband's home office. My daughters' room is where I display the antique doll collection and keep my treadmill, so I can walk, even in the harsh and snowy winters of North West PA. I'm still waiting for the day we remodel the master bedroom, which over the years always seems to be the last to get decorating attention.
We have had three dogs here, beloved all of them, our current one a beautiful golden retriever who loves to chase the rabbits in our back yard, just like her predecessors.
Sometimes my husband I talk about moving to a condo, now that the children are all grown and gone and having their own children. But we both know it's only talk.
Our home has grown with us, evolved to meet our needs, changed with the times as we did, and been witness to and shelter for all the highs and lows of our lives. I think we'll stay here a while longer.