“Chickens?” My husband looked at me, his face showing both interest and confusion.
I nodded, “I want chickens.”
I grew up with a big yard and plenty of room to run. In fact, for my ninth birthday, my parents decided there was enough room for a pet lamb. I remember walking into the front yard to find him being unloaded from the neighbor’s truck. He stared up at me through the crate and I immediately fell in love.
We walked him to a fenced in area that my grandfather built, the smell of wood and hay drifting through the air. I sat by him all night in a lawn chair, afraid to leave. Zack, I thought, we’re going to be best buds. I often laid in the hay next to him, occasionally falling asleep against his wool. If I was feeling rebellious enough, I’d let him out so that he was free to run in an open field. We would run together as fast as we could, my dogs usually trailing behind.
As time would tell after I moved into the city with my mom, we had to give Zack to a family who had others like him and a field he could run in whenever he desired. He did just that and according to his new owners, he liked to terrorize the ducks and chickens. I definitely didn’t want chickens so that I’d have to rescue them from a raging lamb, but I imagined our kids growing up with animals of every kind, free to create many of the same memories that I’ve been so fond of.
We started going through our list of things we expected from a new home and what we needed as a growing family. Our first home had treated us exceedingly well, but we simply felt that we were busting out of the seams – dogs, kids, and little room for anything else. We wanted a basement, fence, and most importantly, a place that our kids could always come back to.
Searching for a home seemed like the easy part at first, until it wasn’t. We viewed the first home and I was immediately charmed. It was built in the 90’s – it simply felt lived in and loved. We put an offer in, but since it was contingent on us selling our own home, they accepted another offer. I was devastated and continued to look at photos of it, imagining what it would’ve been like to live in it as a family.
The very next week, we were in a global pandemic. A home was the last thing on our minds as we worried for the safety and future of our family. We waited until we felt safe enough to continue, but with so much uncertainty, we were hesitant. We contacted our realtor to ask how we should proceed and with their assurance, we continued. We were able to keep searching, but moving forward it was socially distanced with masks, disposable shoe covers, and Clorox wipes.
Felice and I looked at home after home, all that I would pessimistically turn down. I wanted a house with warmth, character, and room to grow with us. Felice repeatedly sent a link to a house I had seen online, but there was no room for chickens and it was out of budget. Before I could make up my mind, it was off the market. It came back up the next week and he begged that we see it in person; I finally conceded.
Upon arrival, I felt such a calming atmosphere. The warmth welcomed me, the character comforted me, and the home itself was perfect. Looking around, I saw little hints of small children, Bible verses, and pets. This house, I thought, was made for us. I couldn’t believe that I had initially turned away from it or that we had even been given a second chance. We walked outside and Felice looked down at me expectantly. I looked back up and smiled, giving the green light for what would be eventually turn out to be such a memorable testimony to the power of God.
Another offer was submitted around the same time as ours, and while both offers were contingent on the selling of our homes, they had an overall better offer and it was accepted. We were disappointed, but not discouraged. We knew a contingent offer would be dependent on the buyer selling their home, a home that was not yet listed. If another offer was submitted and accepted, the original buyer would have 48 hours from that point to sell their home before their offer would be dropped, allowing the second offer to be in contract. I was confident in our little house. We felt that we still had a good chance.
We immediately left the showing to frantically clean and prepare for the listing of our home, then left as soon as we finished so our realtor could take photos and videos. Already sweating from the hysteria that came after wrangling three dogs and a toddler, we all packed ourselves into the car and drove around until we were able to go back. It was unbelievably chaotic. The dogs were panting, I was panting, Aria was getting fussy, I was getting fussy. The entire day became a blur.
The next day was Monday and our house was on the market by noon. We were instantly scheduled for two showings and by 4 in the afternoon, we accepted an offer. Yes, you heard that right, our realtor sold our house sold in 4 hours! We put an offer in on the house we wanted with no contingency and it was accepted. The countdown began for the original buyer to list and sell their home.
I was excited until the feelings of guilt and anxiety set in. I worried sick over the original buyer and their plans for the home that may be taken away from them. What if this home was their dream home, too? I began to think solely of ripping an opportunity away from someone else’s family. Did we get too caught up in the excitement? Was I putting this person through the same stress that we had experienced early on? Felice assured me that this happens and although I don’t have a competitive bone in my body, the housing market is competitive. Ok, I thought, I have to compete. All my fretting was in vain because the original buyer changed their offer to where it was no longer contingent. Game over.
Two weeks went by and while we were still looking at houses, we couldn’t find one we loved as much. Every house ended up being compared to the house we lost and nothing measured up. As the days continued to pass, we continued to risk losing our own buyers. I knew it was time to move on so we wouldn’t lose the sale of our home, but I also didn’t want to settle.
We had so many ups and downs that its impossible to list every road block we came across without diluting the core of what we experienced, but it was beginning to affect us emotionally. I couldn’t understand why it was so hard to find a home. I felt what I wanted was simple, but homes were going on and off the market too quick for my fickle ways of thinking to keep up. I wasn’t sure on a lot, but I was sure that we already found our dream house. I simply gave up looking and put it in God’s hands, praying that this would all be worth it in the end.
The seller on the dream house contacted me through Facebook. It was a beautiful message where she expressed that she felt a pull towards our family and wanted to reach out to us before putting their home back on the market. The deal with the original buyer had fallen through, allowing us to send in an offer that was accepted. The family was so incredibly gracious and kind that I couldn’t help but feel like God was working in our lives from both sides of the deal.
We continued to come face to face with snags along the way, but this time from our own buyers on the home we were selling. We were still in the middle of the pandemic and he had been furloughed. We had the option of pulling away from our deal with his family and relisting our home, but I wanted to be as patient as possible knowing that patience and faith had ultimately gifted us the home we were buying. We waited for him to return to work, and waited, and waited. It delayed us, but once he returned to work, everyone was eager to finally close the deal.
We were able to close at the end of May. All parties sat in their cars to sign the paperwork and while the experience was strange, we were glad for the precautions taken. We met both families, the ones we were selling our house to and the ones we were buying from. My heart was overwhelmed with joy. When it was all said and done, we drove to our new home, excited for a new beginning.
It was bittersweet to leave the home where I shared some of my most treasured memories with Aria and Felice. It stood for the beginning of our lives. I knew with this new house we’d create other memories, memories that would be created for the next 30 years. This would be our family home, the home our kids would always be able to come back to. Chickens or no chickens, it was better than I could’ve ever imagined.