I was five months’ pregnant when we bought our first house.
My dad’s friend was the only realtor we knew, so we appointed him to take us around Framingham. Without much money, our choices were limited, but we soon found a cute Cape in the Saxonville section, not far from the highway. The couple selling the property asked to meet us. Having never bought a house before, we didn’t know whether or not this was customary, but we agreed.
The sellers were retiring, building a house in Maine, and hoped we would be as happy in the little Cape as they had been for the past 40 years. We were in our early twenties, so 40 years seemed like a very long time to us. We wished one another well and agreed on the purchase price of our first home.
My due date was the first week in September, and we joked about having a “Labor Day” baby. I was still working full time, so my nights and weekends were consumed with stripping off the flowered wallpaper and repainting the living room with a more modern color: harvest gold. It was 1975 after all. While we scrubbed and painted in preparation for my baby shower — scheduled for the first week in August — we also worked on the immense yard, pulling weeds and trimming bushes, tasks neither of us had ever done before.
And then my water broke.
We hadn’t even gotten a crib for the baby
. . . or packed an overnight bag
. . . or finished our childbirth classes
. . . or picked out names.
Our son was born on July 22, a full six weeks before his due date. I was still working full time and had to call in sick the morning he was born.
We made do. We were just thankful Stephen was born healthy though a little premature. He attended his own baby shower, much to the delight of all the guests, and slept in a plastic clothes basket for the first few weeks.
My six-month maternity leave went by quickly. Our son was thriving under the care of a wonderful Irish woman with six children of her own, including four boys she and her husband adopted after her sister died. But one very cold New England night, he began vomiting relentlessly, so I brought him to the hospital. At first, he was diagnosed with bronchitis and put in an oxygen tent. The following day, the doctor told us he would need emergency surgery. He had intussusception, a serious condition in which the large intestine folds in on itself like a telescope.
The talented surgeon saved his little life, and our lives went on.
But after a few years, it was time to move on from the little Cape. I contacted my new realtor and put the house on the market. By then I was a single parent and eager to start over. My one wish, though, was to meet the family who would be moving into my house. They agreed. On the appointed day, I met with a couple about the same age as myself with their four little boys — all under the age of 7 — in tow.
I smiled in remembrance as we wished one another well and agreed on a purchase price.
Gouchergirls@yahoo.com. Send a 550-word essay on your first home to Address@globe.com. Please note: We do not respond to submissions we won’t pursue.