The House That Built Us.
Casey grew up in Oklahoma, I in Hawaii, however I truly believe we BOTH grew up together in our 1200 sqft starter home on the edge of Ellenton, FL. When we got married at 20 and 21, we had a lot of growing up to do. A few months after our wedding we moved, with a horse and trailer in tow, and everything we owned (which was not much) we drove non stop, 22 hours, from Stillwater, Oklahoma to Florida.
We knew we needed a place to call our own. You could even say baseball helped us in the decision making process. Casey at that point was having to spend every fall and every spring in Florida, so it just seemed right. Living in Florida together meant less apart. We had no idea at the time just how much time and money the decision would actually save us. Florida was our future and we thank the Lord, for guiding our steps there!
The first house we toured ended up being the house we would spend the next 8 years of our lives in. It was the house that we would eventually turn into a home and create a family. It would be the place where we cried, laughed, argued, and celebrated. Our home saw a lot in those 8 years. If the walls could talk they would smile at the transformation we made there, both to it, and ourselves. In 2012 we used what we had to decorate, the walls were covered in bright white (like hospital white) and there was original carpet covering almost every inch of the home other than the worn linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms. It was finished off with every cheap fixture you could imagine.
We not only poured our time and energy into fixing our home, but into fixing ourselves as well. We were so young and had a lot of growing to do. In a sense, we grew up together, we helped each other improve. Together we found our adult voices, we formed new thoughts and opinions and discovered things we were passionate about. I look back now and can see that there were so many parrells between us and our first home.
Despite the lack of luster, our first home was affordable. At the time, we couldn’t afford much else. I had sold anything I had of value, including a horse and truck to help gather enough funds for a down payment. To our fortune, our new home was a foreclosure and for sale during the fall of the housing market. We knew if baseball didn’t work out, we could at least cover the cost of our mortgage, working minimum wage jobs until we could figure out our next steps.
It provided for us then by being a shelter for us when we were making $1200 (a month-for only 6 months of the year I might add) playing minor league baseball. It continued to be just what we needed for the next 7 seasons of Caseys career. From getting to live in it a full season, to rehabbing elbow surgery and every Spring Training in between, over those 7 seasons I can’t count how much out sweet home saved us.
Now, as we close the door and say goodbye, it continues to bless us. It now will provide us with a down payment on our forever home. A place in a state that makes our hearts happy. It was the best investment we could have done, without having a clue what we were doing!
We are leaving with overflowing emotions.
I cleaned what seemed like every square inch before closing the door for the last time. With everything wiped down, and empty space filling each room, our home feels like it’s a house again.
The memories though, they will travel with us where ever we go! Saying goodbye is always hard. I will miss our sweet neighbors, who I only hope will be friends for life. I will miss walking the sidewalks to the community playground. I will miss the tree that bloomed outside our dining room window, I will miss the southern moss that laid gently on the branches of the large oaks. I will miss pushing Kaysen on the swing we hung for her. I will miss so much about our first home, but I will carry the memories forever in my heart.
To the future home owners, renters, whoever you are, I have been praying for you. I only hope you love our home as much as we did. I hope it helps shape you into the best version of yourself. I hope you feel a since of comfort, every time you walk through the door. I hope you enjoy the Florida sunsets from the rocking chairs out back. I hope you love the community of people who surround our little Cul de Sac. I hope the large crane that comes to visit the conservation area every now and again, brings a smile to your face. Most of all, I hope for happiness to you and everyone who lives there.