This was the dream house. The house that I quickly became obsessed with. The house that I only got to live in for two years.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the dream house. It was Friday of OU/Texas Weekend. I headed down to Norman to meet with my sister-in-law, Karen, a realtor, who had a few houses picked out for me to look at. Derek and I decided that moving to Norman, for various reasons, should be in our near future. So I decided to go look…just for fun. (For me, this is the equivalent of “just looking” at a litter of new puppies. There’s no way I’m leaving without wanting one.)
We stopped for lunch at The Mont, a popular restaurant near the OU campus. The whole city was down in Dallas for the game, so we had the place to ourselves. It was a cool fall day. Pumpkins appearing on front porches leaves just starting to turn, football excitement in the air. The vibe in the city was perfect. Perfect for making me want to move.
During lunch which might have included a Swirl and definitely included queso, Karen looked at me and said, “There’s a house just down the street that I should show you. It isn’t officially on the market yet but will be soon. It’s DARLING!” I’m not certain that she used the word DARLING, but it doesn’t matter because that is exactly what the house was. When we rounded the corner and I laid my eyes on the house for the first time, I knew the house MUST BE MINE!
Karen called the homeowner and asked if we could get inside. Before long we were inside my dream house, gushing and moaning and groaning (mostly from me) about how fabulous this house was. Built in the 1920’s and recently renovated by the owners (very Joanna Gaines-esk, before Joanna Gaines was…well…Joanna Gaines), 433 Macy was the most charming house in the whole city. I’m not exaggerating. Whenever I would tell my Norman friends which house it was they would say, “That’s the most charming house in the whole city!”
I can’t remember many of the details after that. I do know that I called Derek and told him that there was a house in Norman that we had to buy RIGHT NOW! We couldn’t wait because I DON’T WANT SOMEONE ELSE LIVING IN MY HOUSE! Was I a tad dramatic about the urgency of the whole thing? Perhaps. But I didn’t care. This was my dream house.
By April 2004 we were moving in. It wasn’t a smooth transition, but moving rarely is. Shortly after, we found out that we were pregnant with Palmer and a few weeks after that, Derek won his first National Championship. Living on Macy Street was very dreamy. I loved waking up on Saturdays in the fall, feeling the energy of the city gearing up for game day. I loved decorating my front porch for all of the holidays. I loved the brick pavers in the kitchen, the Japanese Maple in the front yard, and the delicate lace roman shades in the front windows. I. Loved. This. House. Life was pretty damn perfect. Things were going well for the Freemans.
Until they weren’t. That summer, Derek moved into a new position at our alma mater which quickly grew into a miserable situation. By the spring of 2005, I had a newborn, a 3-year-old, and a husband that was utterly and completely unhappy at work. It was the best of times and the worst of times. Evenings in our darling new home were clouded with constant discussions about the future and what it might or might not bring. Money was extremely tight making even the simplest trips to the grocery store fraught with worry. No matter how darling or charming our house was, the people living inside were stressed, anxious and worried.
I dreamt one night that I had to say goodbye to my dream house. I woke up, panicked, saw that I was still on Macy Street, and fell back asleep. A few months later, in the summer of 2006, we moved to California leaving Macy Street in the rearview mirror of a U-haul truck.
I was heartbroken to be saying goodbye to my dream house so soon. It wasn’t fair. I felt like we were just getting started. But we had hopes of returning, so instead of selling, we rented it out. The man that we rented the house to would occasionally send me emails, telling me how great the house was, how much he was enjoying it, how fun it was to live there on game days. And I would cry while responding, thanking him for taking such good care of my dream house. Yes, we would hold on to our dream home until we needed it again.
We didn’t need it after all.
We sold the dream house in 2008. Surprisingly, I wasn’t that sad about it. By that time we had truly moved on in every sense of the word. We had settled comfortably into life in sunny California, Derek winning his second National Championship. He was happy to be a Bruin, our finances were improving, and our evenings weren’t spent fretting over what the future might or might not bring.
As charming and darling and loved as the Macy house was, it wasn’t the best time of our lives while living there. A house cannot fix everything, nor can it bring the happiness and security that you long for. Will I ever live in another house as charming? No. Probably not. I also have come to realize that you can have more that one dream house in your lifetime, but you never forget your first.