After six months of waiting, I got the key to my brand-new house last month. Woot woot! It was among the most significant projects I could ever take on in my life, considering I poured all my savings into it.
The house meant two things for me. Firstly, I managed to prove that I did not need a man to become a homeowner. Many women got hitched early just so they wouldn’t need to worry about housing and other issues, but I did not want to do that. I always said that I was a strong, independent woman, and that’s what I showed everyone.
Secondly, it was a reward for all my hard work since I started working full-time at 19 years old while also going to college full-time. Most people around me said that I might need to give up one of them eventually because it was rare to find success when your attention was divided into major tasks. I proved them all wrong when I graduated as a Summa cum Laude and earned a managerial position at work. Hence, I was only 25 years old when I bought a piece of land in the neighborhood and built my house in it two years later.
My Mother’s Two Cents
My parents were the happiest – perhaps happier than me – when I brought them to the construction site for the first time. Dad hugged me tightly and repeatedly said that he’s proud of me; Mom cried so hard, uttering praises to God for blessing me with intelligence and a good job. When they accompanied me on the day that the contractor handed over the keys, Mom cried some more until we toured the still-empty house and asked her how I should decorate it. I already bought the couch and bed and other furniture – I was merely lost when it came to decorative items.
Mom replied, “You can add whatever decoration you want because it’s your house, not anyone else’s, but you should have family photos on display, too.”
At first, I wanted to protest. I was a single woman at my prime; I thought it would be awkward to bring a man home after a date and make him see the cheesy pictures I had since childhood. But since I asked for my mother’s opinion – and she did not volunteer it – it would be rude not to indulge her with a few photos in the living room and my home office. I just made sure to use Velcro tape to remove them quickly if I ended up not liking them.
How The Family Pictures Soothed My Mental Health
Inhabiting my new home meant that I had to move out of my parents’ house for good. And though it was only a 30-minute drive away, I still felt a little depressed, knowing that I would not wake up to my mom’s delicious meals every day. Thankfully, the family pictures were there to remind me of the sweet and fun times that we had together. Even when we could not FaceTime or visit each other, I would still see their smiling faces if I turn my gaze on the shelves in my office or walk around the hallway.
I initially thought that the family pictures would curb my desirability in front of potential male partners, but they genuinely helped me weed out the guys who wanted nothing more than a one-night stand. After all, the photos showed how much I valued family, so it likely meant that I would not put out for anyone (which was true). If I was honest, that’s how I attracted my current boyfriend, John, who also dreamed of building a family of his own shortly.
One of the things I dreaded about owning a house was entertaining guests because I had never done that – I feared that they would want to leave after 30 minutes out of boredom. However, I realized that the family pictures worked well as conversation starters as people would go straight to them and ask me what we were doing in those images. When my coworkers came for the first time, they even made a game out of my baby pictures, figuring out how old I was in them.
Soon enough, I found myself printing more family pictures and putting them in matching frames. I even bought a piano that looked like what my parents had so that I could arrange the photo frames on top of it. It was a little piece of home away from home, and even my mother loved it. She said, “I can see you decorating your place with more photos once you have a family of your own.”
Hmm, although I have no idea when that will happen – I think I am still too young to settle down – I can tell that Mom’s prediction was not far off. That’s especially true now that I have seen the beauty of displaying family photos at home.