Over the past few months, we asked Habitat Homeowners to share what their home has meant to them during COVID-19 as part of the 2021 Story Contest. We read so many wonderful, meaningful entries and we're so grateful to all who participated this year. Below you'll find the story written by our first-place winner, Bethany.
Tucked snugly in our two-bedroom, 900 square foot apartment with two growing boys and making the best out of what we had, my husband walked in with desk monitors in hand, ready to set up his in-home workstation for the foreseeable future. Like the rest of the world, we had no idea what we were getting into. He set up shop in the corner of our living room, sandwiched between the kids’ mini trampoline and the living room couch. It was March of 2020.
We had been saving for a down payment on a home for a few years by this point, searching the housing market like it was more a sport than reality. Reluctantly we signed another lease on our apartment, fastening our seatbelts of patience a little bit tighter as we hunkered down in an ever-shrinking apartment with our ever-more-active boys and a now-working-from-home father.
With COVID-19 guidelines locking us down and in, our hearts ached more than ever for a space to call our own. We ached for a pocket of land that we could cultivate into something full of peace in a world so fraught with fear and chaos. We longed for space to bring in our friends and families, celebrate birthdays, decorate a real, honest-to-goodness Christmas tree; and see our boys play and run and dig in a yard of their own. We dreamt of a space where people could come to be refreshed and comforted, and leave more joyful than when they came.
Fast forward one year. It is amazing to reflect on the fact that we would not have been able to attain a space like this had it not been for the work of Habitat for Humanity. The address we now call home is all of these things, and more. To put into words what this home has meant for us this past year seems impossible. How can we possibly capture the essence of honor, pride, humility, and joy that homeownership has conjured up in us? How can we communicate our belief that this home was meant specially for us?
Before Habitat for Humanity, our longing for a space to plant and grow our family’s roots, to create traditions and seek new experiences, was only a hopeful dream. Habitat has made our dream a reality. To be given the sensation of rootedness amidst a global pandemic is matchless in its value.
As I write this, we are beginning to landscape around our home and plant our first vegetable garden. Like our garden, our lives are becoming more rooted not only as a family but into this community we have been blessed with, and it is all thanks to Habitat for Humanity. We are thankful beyond words for this our house, our home.
Oh, and for my husband no longer needing to take conference calls by a mini trampoline in our living room. Thank you, Habitat, for this space you have given our family.