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Wanderlust 2021: The Journey Home Sweet Home

 
After soaking up as much time by the Potomac (or as the kids have come to affectionately call it: “the potato mac”) as we could, it was finally time to begin the trek back up to New England. Our closing day was scheduled for Friday November 19th, so that Monday prior we packed everything up and started the trek from Colonial Beach to our overnight stop in PA. 

Our overnight stop was exactly what it needed to be: a simple flat site that was easy to get into for a quick 12 hour stay. We set up the camper and then wandered inside to the bar/restaurant on site. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted with the smell of stale beer and popcorn, with the sound of pool balls colliding in the background. So much nostalgia, both from my own childhood hanging out in the lounge while my dad played pool; but also the early days of my relationship with Brandon. We met at a dive bar and fell in love playing pool, so there was a strange bit of comfort in sharing this experience with the kids. We enjoyed a delicious home style meal and, of course, taught the kids how to shoot some pool! 
 


 
After we ate and played a game of pool, we headed back to our camper to settle in for the night. It was a very cold and windy evening- thank goodness that little electric fireplace in the camper really puts out some heat! We didn’t even have to turn the propane heat on, which was good because we arrived too late for a fill.
 
It was probably close to 9pm when my phone rang. It was our mortgage lender calling to let us know that instead of the clear to close message we had been waiting for all day, we were now 5k short for closing. How could this be?! Nothing had changed and we were LITERALLY already on the way home. He ran our info multiple times in the system, still coming up unable to close. We had no more money to bring to the table. We had nothing more to give. All I kept thinking and seeing in my mind’s eye was the look on my babies’ faces, when I had to tell them that we weren’t moving into our dream house after all. It was the most gut wrenching feeling of my entire motherhood journey thus far. Even now, typing it out, my stomach is in knots and my heart beats faster. This was what rock bottom felt like- this was the culmination of every single decision we had made since August. I had needed this for myself, I had taken my family out of their comfort zone, their fucking HOME, for this. And this is how it ends, right here on a thin camper mattress in the middle of what felt like a parking lot. 
 
Brandon and I quickly decided we would go for a Hail Mary and reach out to a friend of ours, an anonymous Angel, who had told us more than once to call if we needed help. But 5k is a lot of fucking help, especially right before Christmas. But it was our only hope…all of our cards were on the table. I called and no answer so I texted them and waited for what seemed like hours (in actuality probably 15 minutes) for a response. The response was simply “yes, when can we meet up so I can get you a check”. And suddenly what felt like an emotional being all it’s own inside of me loudly exhaled and immediately broke down into sobs. I cried for what felt like hours and my eyes were still swollen the next morning to show for it. But still, I couldn’t relax until I had the three words we were waiting for: “clear to close” and that wouldn’t happen until we got back to New England to deposit that check.
We got our butts in gear as early as possible to hit the road Tuesday morning for our last stretch of driving. Just as we crossed into Connecticut I received a call from our lender. His excitement was palpable when he blurted out on the phone “we are clear to close!!!” I shrieked- “what, but how?! We haven’t even made it back to MA yet…” He said “we don’t need the extra 5k anymore. They were able to close it without the extra money". Here they come again, the tears. But this time, happy ones. And yet, deep down in my soul, I still didn’t feel completely calm. “Once we are moved in, it will sink in that this is real” I told myself. 
 
We got ourselves back to our starting point, Circle CG Farms in Bellingham, MA. It was certainly quieter than our first stay in October; the nights were cold, but being right across the street from the hot showers and laundry room made it easier to catch up on laundry and warm up at night. Wednesday morning, the day before we were supposed to haul the camper back to Western MA to prepare for closing on Friday, we got a call from our lawyer that there was a delay on the sellers side and closing was delayed until next week at the earliest. I took the news in stride, but the more I started to think about it, the more I panicked, knowing that with Thanksgiving next week, if by chance closing did not happen by Wednesday, we would automatically be delayed an extra 5 days due to the holiday. My realtor stepped in and asked the sellers if they would be willing to allow us to move in on Friday the 19th as planned, with a short term use and occupancy agreement to “rent” the space until closing: we just couldn’t use the fire place or do anything to change the property before closing. DEAL! 

On Thursday night, we parked the camper in my father in law’s driveway and waking up Friday morning for the last time in a camper was a moment of bliss I won’t soon forget! 
 


Rolling up on that beautiful place for the first time, keys in hand, felt like a dream. All of us were just over the moon to unlock the door and walk into our new home. 
 

 
Not long after walking in the door, I got a text from my realtor letting us know that closing was officially scheduled for Monday! Woohoo! I told Brandon as we pulled up to sign papers at our lawyers office Monday afternoon that I feel like we got to shack up with the new place over the weekend before making a commitment! Much like I would NEVER suggest anyone marry another person without cohabitating prior (personal opinion), I can also say with confidence that it was nice to test drive the new spot before making the final commitment! It gave us 1000% confidence when we signed the dotted line, we had chosen well!
Due to a delay, we were not able to get officially on record until Tuesday morning. Brandon and I both exhaled in a profound way and shed a couple of tears when we got that text. It was officially as official as it gets: this little fixer upper farm house I had dreamed of my entire life was finally ours. 
 
 
Thanksgiving was a simple, quiet one, with a plastic folding table and camping chairs because our furniture pod didn’t get delivered until Black Friday. I made a small turkey dinner for all of us and my father in law, and we enjoyed a nice roaring fire on the back terrace. 
 


 
Earlier in the day on Thanksgiving, one of the daughters that sold us this home stopped by with a beautiful wreath for the door. She introduced herself and told us how happy she was that we had gotten this home. There were six total offers including at least one cash offer…but these ladies had chosen us because of the letter that I submitted with our offer, briefly explaining why I felt that their childhood home was meant to be ours. We shared a few hugs and a few stifled tears…but deep in my heart a feeling of total peace washed over me. After the most tumultuous few months of my entire life, I finally felt…HOME ❤️
The last few weeks have been spent unpacking, cleaning, painting and preparing for the holidays! Getting our tree up was a top priority for the kiddos, and having a nice big tv and a cozy living room for Christmas movies has been so nice, compared to the small camper living room. 
 
 
We built new memories this year with a new home and some new holiday traditions, including having our best friends-turned-family join our Christmas Eve celebrations! But I won’t lie, this year the holidays has really been a mixed bag for me. So much has happened, so much has changed in my life since the start of this calendar year. I have lost a lot this year, including years of toxic cycles playing over and over again. Reckoning with my family of origin and years of unresolved trauma, losing my grandmother, who was one of my only consistent well springs of unconditional love as a child, losing friendships and business connections…but it all led me somewhere. So much pain experienced in such a short span of time (less than 365 days) brought me to my brink. It was sink or swim, and I swam further and faster than I ever imagined possible.
 
In the last 100 days we have sold one home, purchased another, moved our family of 4 and a dog into a 200sqft Coleman camper, enjoyed the beauty of residing in 3 states during October-November, kept our business afloat, managed to survive all of this without killing one another…I would say I kicked 2021’s ASS, in retrospect. And while financial gains are not something I would normally discuss in a public forum, the pride in being able to purchase our dream fixer upper as small business owners, in the middle of a pandemic, is something I won’t quickly forget. In case you aren’t aware, you cannot even QUALIFY for a mortgage as a small business owner until you have X (ranging from 2-5 years) amount of time of increasing profit consistently on the books. This dream wouldn’t have been possible for our family without years of hard work, laying the foundation. And years of support and love from our amazing, loyal customer base. You all are the reason we can look back on all of these years of hard work and say, “we made it!!!”
 
Thank you for showing up for our family year after year. Thank you for all of your words, texts, emails, messages, and letters of love and encouragement, especially this year. Thank you for all the surprise gifts left on our doorstep (or that one time a customer accidentally let herself inside the house and left me a bottle of wine on the table 😂), all of the hugs in the driveway when you came to pick up orders, all of the chats through the glass in the door in the carport during the pandemic. You all became our family, you became our friends. And while we love Lotus & Compass for all of the cool stuff we find for all of you to shop, the real reason we are here is for the community, each and every single one of YOU! 

On the days when I have truly struggled with whether or not to get out of bed, you all have reminded me that even with messy hair and sweatpants, I am loved. When I couldn’t stop crying enough to get my stuff posted in the group, I was honest with you all and you held me from a distance as I cried. I have shared some of my most vulnerable moments with you all, starting with the end of my pregnancy with Haven, and leading up into this past year, where I felt my most vulnerable, scared and alone. This blog, sharing this experience with all of you, has helped to reignite a passion in me that I had almost forgotten about in the years I spent building businesses and making babies.
 
Writing; it has been my tool, my art, my passion, my purpose, my meaning since childhood. I have boxes (literally, BOXES) full of old notebooks, folders, journals, random sheets of notebook paper…full of song lyrics, poetry, short stories, the start of several books, essays, love letters, sticky notes. Writing has always had a place in my life, but for the last few years it’s place has been on the furthest back burner. I’m moving it to the front row. This next year I WILL WRITE my first book, I am committing myself to that. And I am presently working on launching my new Patreon site entitled Living On Purpose: Pathways of Healing. This site will be a subscription based site where I will have lots of content around mental health and wellness, trauma recovery, entrepreneurship, living life on your own terms and saying F you to all of the standards that society and other people placed on our backs. It will be a place where I can share more of my story, and where I can hear more of yours. It is also where I will be sharing the behind the scenes process of writing my first book. I will be launching the site January 1st…stay tuned! I have also recently launched my new podcast, also titled "Living On Purpose" and my first full-length episode is streaming now on Spotify!
 
This year has taught me that nobody benefits from me living small. Life is for the living, and I have lost enough years to trauma, feeling unworthy and unlovable and keeping myself small to appease other people. That girl is gone; she died this year. And from the ashes rose a woman who has learned that her bones were forged in the fires of hell. I’ve walked through hell and I am still here to talk about it. And write about it. And gosh, do I have a lot to say. Thank you for being here.
All my love,
Melaney

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