It’s hard to get the timeline straight. It seems like we had the idea ages ago and just yesterday at the same time. Every time I sit down to write, I feel a bit stuck. Where do I even begin?
Well, here’s the quick version. In May of 2021 we visited the Tampa Bay area to decide if this was somewhere we actually wanted to live. We started the pre-approval process but decided we needed a few more months before we officially began searching for a home. We went back to NJ but had already connected with an amazing realtor who sent us new listings every day. While seeing the listings online was exciting, it was hard to actually see the home, the neighborhood, etc. We booked flights to return to Tampa Bay in September, during the week of our five year anniversary, and decided to use that time to explore the area more and make appointments to see some homes in person.
The months leading up to September felt strange. We would see some houses in the portal and start dreaming and they would be gone the next day. “I don’t know if this is going to work out” was an often said statement between Emerson and I. “Let’s just see.”
I can’t remember how many houses we saw in total that week. Maybe six or seven? One of them was on a street called Mockingbird. How adorable? We had already seen a couple of houses that day and decided to pick back up the next day. We got back to our Airbnb, refreshed the portal, fell in love with the house on Mockingbird and texted our realtor about getting an appointment the next day. She immediately called the listing agent and got us a showing an hour later. We got to the house and fell in love again. There was a beautiful, beautiful tree in the front of the house and a mockingbird flew right onto the picket fence surrounding the front yard. It felt like a sign. Oh, it was also our five year anniversary that.exact.day!
We walked in and everything was brand new. And within budget?! It felt too good to be true. It was a small house, but there was a pool (!!!), and new floors, remodeled bathrooms, remodeled kitchen. Everything was literally brand new. Upon closer inspection, we later discovered that while things were “new” they were done a bit sloppy. But still the house was “perfect.” We actually saw another house immediately after this one and it was also brand new, but not the same. I was not impressed with this other house and my heart was set on Mockingbird. We put an offer in. Just a tiny bit over asking, but still within our budget. And! We got overbid.
Bummer. It felt meant to be! It was perfect. There was a pool!!! And we saw it on our anniversary and what about the freaking mockingbird?! It is so easy to get caught up in the dream.
We often get stuck on something we THINK is for us when in reality, it’s just not. There’s no point in forcing it to work when ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s just not for you. It’s normal to get excited about things and to have desires and wishlists, but I’ve learned it’s important to understand when something is a YES and when something is a NO. Mockingbird was a NO. My mother in law often says “God is already there,” whenever there is an important decision to be made or if someone is worried or anxious, etc. It’s actually one of my favorite things about her — her faith and calming spirit. And from the beginning of our home search journey we told ourselves that if it was meant to be, if God was already there, it would be.
The funny part is, Emerson wasn’t at peace with Mockingbird. After we put the offer in he mentioned that he hoped we wouldn’t get it. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? WHY WOULD WE PUT AN OFFER, sorry let me lower my voice, why would we put an offer on a house that one of us doesn’t want? He saw that I was excited and wanted to make me happy. (oooo that’s another thing we do, isn’t it? compromise on some convictions to make other people happy?!) He would later tell me that he didn’t want the house, but he would take it. Very ehh about it. But he was on to something. The peace that was not there was the true sign.
Well, it turns out this is not the quick version at all. This is not even the full story. This is just the part where we put our dreams into action and got rejected. Or at least it felt like rejection. I guess we’ll call this part one.