Monday, April 7, 2014

Starting Over

We've moved 7 times in 7 years of marriage. Well, this Saturday will be the 7th.

At the end of the summer of 2007 I was 23, Joe was 28. We were newlyweds - married for 3 weeks - and we packed up everything we owned in a moving truck and drove across the country. We were excited for the new adventure of graduate school, a new state, and starting a life together. Joe drove the truck and I wrote thank you notes for our still-in-boxes wedding gifts in the car. We drove through cute Midwestern towns and miles of cornfields and we filled with optimism about our future.

Three hours outside of our final destination we stopped for the night. We couldn't get our keys at 2am, so why not stop in Indianapolis and finish the last few hours the next day. The next day we came out of our hotel room to a parking lot with no moving truck. We thought it had been towed. It hadn't. In the few hours we slept someone had hot wired it, driven it off, stolen what they deemed of value, put a rock on the accelerator and drove the van in to the river.

It ranks as one of the absolute worst moments in my life.

For months we struggled to recover financially (insurance didn't cover all of what we'd lost) and emotionally. It's hard to explain how violated you feel when something is stolen. And to have everything stolen during the newlywed phase of marriage was somehow ten times worse. I felt like our happy newlywed phase - that optimism and sense of embarking on adventure - was stolen and we were thrust into an awful nightmare. Those early months of marriage and grad school were painful for both of us.

And while many miracles happened in the aftermath, and many people reached out to us to help, it has been a long road to recovery. Financially, it has taken us years. And emotionally - well no one can every give us back that stolen time in our life or replace our journals, scrapbooks, and photographs. They're gone forever. And we have almost no sweet sentimental household items lovingly chosen and gifted to us at our wedding. That hurts too.

People told me at the time I'd laugh about it someday ....well almost 7 years later and I'm still not laughing. Some things just remain a heartbreaking part of your past. You move on, and recover, but thinking back on them is still painful. I'm sure many of you can relate, even if the source of our hardship is different.

Today we closed on our first home. Buying a home is - for anyone - a big milestone. But for our family - who had everything material ripped from us - it's a particularly big day. At times it felt impossible.

For 6.5 years we've hardly been on any vacations, I've had hardly any decent haircuts and only one - very minimal hair color job, we spent a year as a one car family, and even now we drive two quite old very practical cars. We've spent the past 21 months living in a cinder block apartment with a tiny kitchen and closets that grow mold in the corners; before that we lived with my mom for a year. Joe has almost always worked more than 40 hours a week and I have spent a lot of time working outside the home and making spreadsheet after spreadsheet strategically planning debt payoff and savings goals.

So buying this beautiful house today is a huge milestone and a big relief. The culmination of hard work and, for us, a moral victory over a very rough beginning. We're really excited to start over, to move in and to settle down. And we're pretty emotional too.

Also, it's just a pretty house and the dishwasher is amazing. Plus - two words: counter space. And this little person feels right at home there too - which makes my heart happy. Come visit soon friends and family, we'll be here a while.

3 little remarks:

Brooke said...

Yay! Yay! Yay! So happy for you guys! If one thing you will appreciate your house more than the normal person. You might be in the honeymoon period with your new house for a good 10 years, just in awe to stay in the same place and that it's so new and beautiful and nice! So excited to see it sometime!

Tannie Datwyler said...

I'm SO happy for you Anna!! I hope I can come see your house one of these days. AND you and Joe and Everly should come up to Idaho and go to Yellowstone - stop by the house. :) We're moving NEXT WEEK... nuts.

Emily S said...

Hooray, so awesome! Can't wait to see more of it!

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