“I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies”…or houses. And I’ve given birth twice. But we’ve never tried buying a house until now, and it’s almost as stress-inducing as preparing for childbirth and surviving labor. People actually do this for a living? Buying and reselling –‘flipping’ houses, or just moving every few years? Yikes! Not for me.
First, there’s agonizing over the decision to try getting pregnant. Okay, not everyone goes through that step, but bear with me. We discussed for months the possibility of buying a home, with my usual pessimism insisting it could never be done, Geo standing firm in his belief to the contrary. So we tried – looking at houses, that is. At our age, the baby train has left the station, thank heavens. And there it was, much sooner than either of us ever expected. The perfect home, in the town we dreamed of. How could we walk away?
A nine month gestation period has nothing on the hurry-up-and-wait involved in obtaining a mortgage. Endless inspections and financial disclosures, almost as intrusive as ob/gyn visits. Will the bank approve? What’s a mortgage underwriter? It’s a VA loan; what will the government say? Radon and termites…and more waiting for negotiations with the seller and mitigation of the issues.
And the cost! We were fortunate enough to have medical insurance for the hospital bills all those years ago. Now it turns out we pay for mortgage insurance. The numbers on the loan papers are frightening enough. Then we add interest, and taxes, and the insurance company wants how much annually? Add in the movers, and the carpet cleaners, appliance installation, painting…there goes the Caribbean cruise we hoped for, at least for the foreseeable future.
But just as the memories of an exhausting and painful labor and delivery faded into nothingness at the sight of our newborn’s face, so too the sleepless nights agonizing over this enormous financial burden will dim when we sign the library-sized stack of papers and take possession of our new home. It’s another lifetime commitment, not quite as emotionally charged – or satisfying – as the children, but close. Plumbing and electrical and exterior maintenance will replace braces and sports fees and college. Worthy investments, all.
One thing we’ve learned from being parents, and from the travails of normal living, is to be able to let go. As much as we want this house, as powerful as the pull is to have a place of our own, we remind ourselves daily of the suffering inherent in attachments to impermanent things. The house, the children, each other – all are temporal, all will pass away. We strive to appreciate (I can’t quite say enjoy!) this current stage in our journey, recognizing that what will be, will be. We don’t need a special physical structure. “Wherever we’re together, that’s my home.”