With more than 34 new people moving to Charleston each day, Charleston has become a real estate agent’s dream come true. I myself am not a real estate agent. I am just a girl, standing in front of a door, wishing that I owned that house. After nine years in our current home, countless backyard bonfires, five very memorable Halloween parties, two dogs, one cat, and a new baby, the time has come to move on to something a little different and perhaps a little bigger.
To anyone who has ever gone through the process of shopping for a home, you know the drill. You begin to perseverate on your “wish list” for your new house. For me it’s simple. It must have four bedrooms, a fenced-in back yard, in a good school district, and have a large open floor plan, with a family room big enough to double as a sewing studio. For my husband: must be either on the water or at least ten minutes from a boat landing. We have also limited our search to only downtown Charleston, James Island, West Ashley (but only in and around South Windemere), and Mount Pleasant (but only south of the IOP connector). Piece of cake, right? Cue my agent’s eye balls rolling into the back of his head.
For now we are still hanging tight in our first home on James Island. And as I am writing this, settled into my cozy computer chair in the sunroom, my husband sits just through the double doors in our living room with his eyes glued to the weather channel. One day we’re walking downtown to grab brunch and enjoy the sunshine. And the next day, we’re suddenly preparing to evacuate from a hurricane. After seeing the devastation that happened recently in Texas, I am reminding of how necessary, yet nerve-wracking, evacuating your home can be. Last October during Hurricane Matthew, we left our house, not knowing if or what would be standing when we returned. And here we are a year later singing the same sad evacuation song. Stress levels run high. We worry about our fancy Serta mattress; our Cynthia Rowley dining room chairs; the new roof that was replaced in 2016; the dogwood trees that we transplanted four summers ago; a house full of things we “can’t live without.” I could sit here and list all the things you should pack in the car for an evacuation. But as I think about what things I can’t live without, I realize that the only things I really need are the people that live in my house. Family. They’re the reason you come home every day after a long day at work. They’re the thing you miss the most when you are away on a business trip. They’re the reason you can still feel at home when you all travel together on vacation. They’re more important than any house will ever be.
These four walls we live in hold a lot of stuff and a lot of memories. But it’s the people inside of the house that make it a home. As fun as it’s been shopping for a new house, I would trade it all for a cardboard box if that meant we could all stay together. Take care of the ones you love this hurricane season. And find comfort in the thought that as long as you are all together and safe, then you have everything you’ll ever need. I’m sending positive vibes and well wishes to everyone in the low country as we weather this storm!
Disclosure: Photos were taken by the writer and her husband. Despite all their wildest dreams, they do not live in any of the houses seen above.