I never really took the time to realize what home meant. As a child who grew up in many different homes, I guess you can say that home was always the place I felt most comfortable. Who doesn't love to sleep in their own bed, eat at their own dinner table, and curl up on their couch and watch television? Home is where most people are able to relax, and enjoy downtime. If you're like me, it's the place where you cuddle your dogs, have home cooked meals, dance like nobody's watching, and clean the house naked when nobody is home.
I moved into my basement apartment in September 2017 after a painful summer. I spent July, and August at my brothers house living out of garbage bags, totes, and dressers that were piled in his garage after a breakup from a three year relationship. Although I was a special guest in their home to them, I felt like an intruder. I did my best to stay out of their way while planning my escape. I longed for something of my own. For so long, I conformed to the routine with my ex, and even while living with him, it never felt right.
I remember sitting in the garage some nights while everybody was sleeping, and I would stare at the pile of belongings that were collecting dust as the days passed, and I would silently cry. I was 28 years old, I had no money, my heart was broken, and I was living with my brothers family. I was so fortunate to have family to take me under their wing, but I felt like such a disappointment. The shame inside was unbearable. You could say that life felt pretty hopeless at that time. Not to mention, my ex was begging me to come home.
But I just couldn't... I knew if I was ever going to be free, I would have to survive on my own, even if it meant taking steps back.
I have this friend. We've known each other for a very long time. Not only is he somebody I look up to, but he is the definition of a Saint. He helped me on my desperate search to find an affordable place for Landon and I. He is a real estate agent, so he wanted nothing more than to help me find a good home.
After weeks of checking out some of Hamilton's cheapest rentals, one popped up that was a little bit out of my price range. I wasn't sure I'd be able to afford it, but the hard working Kylie was yelling "I CAN MAKE IT WORK!" I sent the info over to my friend, and he said "Lets go have a look. It's worth a shot."
We came during an open house, and as I walked in, my heart skipped a beat. I had already looked at several houses at this point, and none made me feel the way this one did. It was small, freshly painted with brand new floors. The owner was pretty cool too. We got talking about music, and art, and seemed to have a lot in common. I knew in my heart I wanted this place, but I also knew I'd have to rob a bank to come up with first and last (but I didn't want my friend to know that-shame was a very common feeling for me at that time).
My friend stopped me in one of the rooms, and he said "Do you want this place?" I said "YES! It's close to Landon's school, and it's in the area I grew up in. It's perfect." He said "Okay, I'm going to say something, and it's going to freak you out, but do not say a word. Just go with it." I hesitated for a moment, and the owner walked in.
"We will give you six months up front right now if you give this place to her. She has great recommendations, and it's perfect for her."
My jaw nearly hit the floor, and the owner seemed equally as surprised.
The owner said "That sounds great, but she has to go through the same process everybody else does. I have a lot of people who want this place, and I can't make that decision right now. Here's the application. You can fill it out, and hand it in like the rest."
I went home that night and obsessed over the thoughts of living there. I started asking myself what I could do to secure my spot in that house. I needed that place to be our home. It was perfect. I couldn't stop thinking about how my life would change if I could just have a place of my own. I lost myself in thoughts thinking about taking care of Landon as a single Mom. I knew I had to make a move. My friend told me that if it was meant to be, it would be... But typical Kylie had to step up to the plate, and take a swing at bat if it meant I could increase the chance of getting the place.
I did the only thing I could think of. I knew that I couldn't send a basket of muffins like Ross did in the episode of Friends where he desperately tries to win the heart of the naked, fat guy selling his apartment. I knew that the six months up front didn't work. But if there's something I am a strong believer in, it's honesty. I knew that the only chance I had was to reach out with integrity, and honesty, and MAYBE they would pick me.
The landlord phoned me the next day and said "Kylie, your email really pulled on my heart strings. I want to offer you the house. I had one other tenant who stood out, and I already had it in my mind that I was going to give it to her, but after reading your email, I changed my mind."
Here's the catch though...
He said, "If you are willing to pay a hundred dollars more than the asking price, it's yours."
I was in no position to turn it down. I knew that it was a beautiful place, in the perfect neighbourhood. I also knew that my son could continue to go to the same school without any complications. I agreed, signed the lease in September, and moved in on October 1st.
We moved in with practically nothing. Everything I owned was given to me from friends or family. I felt like a charity case, but was not going to complain. I had never had a place of my own, and I had never seen Landon so happy. Having his happiness meant more to me than having luxuries. He was so excited for Landon, Mommy, and Penny adventures.
It is now November of 2019. Over two years have passed. In that two years, I accumulated memories for ourselves, and memories for the walls. We saw old furniture turn into new furniture, and I felt my heart slowly repair itself as the months went by. It would take me an entire year to finally leave behind the relationship that broke me, and I truly believe it was the home that built me strong enough to do so.
Having my own home has taught me (and is still teaching me) how to spend my money wisely. I have realized that bills are my number one priority, which means that until all the bills are paid, I cannot irresponsibly waste my money.
Having my own home has strengthened my bond with Landon. We have built a space that is comfortable, and safe. There's food in the fridge, and blankets to keep us warm at night. Our living room is our favourite place to be. It's where we watch movies, cuddle, dance, sing, play guitar, paint, eat, and relax.
Having my own home has taught me how strong I really am. For many years, I was told that I could not survive alone. I was made out to be the girl who needed someone to provide for her. I believed that with my entrepreneur lifestyle, I would not be able to handle "responsibilities of an adult". I proved others, and myself wrong. I am capable, and every month I get better at this adult stuff.
I was very much afraid that I would fail on my own... And guess what? There were times that I did fail. I have asked my parents for grocery money, and I have had months where I didn't even have money for gas. But no matter what shit storm came my way, I got through it, and learned lessons along the way.
I remember one week, I had no food. I made sure Landon had food, but I was eating oatmeal and eggs everyday. There's even been times where I fed my dog oatmeal, banana and eggs until a pay day came where I could buy more food.
Two years have gone by, and now I understand what home is.
While so many people out there are buying luxuries for their home, I am just trying to stay afloat while working towards the next goals in life.
We have since added another member to our family. Last December we adopted a dog who needed a good home. Her name is Punch. She is our rescue dog from Texas.
While working so much throughout the day, I felt sad for our red lab Penny, because she was all alone. Punch was the perfect addition to our home. She is kind, loving, and struggles with PTSD. Giving her the love, and attention she deserves has given us so much reward. Penny now has a friend, and she now has a loving home that she feels safe in. She is now apart of our hearts, and home.
While visiting other people's home, and observing others around me who have money, I have gathered information about how others view their home. Some want to fill their home with pools, fire places, and fancy furniture, while others are looking for a bigger, and better home. Although I'm sure those things may come up in my future, I am more focused on the now...
For now I am grateful for what we have built. While not having a lot of money, I learned that having heat, hydro, food, pillows, and blankets were some of our homes biggest necessities. I realized over these last two years how to live without cable, and as of recently I am learning how to live without social media (but that's another story).
Tonight, I really started thinking about "home". It inspired me to write this blog.
I swept the floors, because they were covered in dog hair. I did the dishes, because I had friends over yesterday, and we had a feast in my living room. I wiped the tables down, turned our new disco light on in the living room, and told Google to play a "Marshmellow Playlist". I grabbed Yahtzee from Landon's room, and we played Yahtzee for an hour while singing, and dancing to the music.
I looked around and I couldn't help but feel blessed.
I have it all.
I don't need luxuries right now.
I have a happy son, two beautiful dogs, and a home filled with love.
I have good friends who come over, and we share laughs in the living room while watching Friends. I have children come over to play, paint, sing, and dance. My nieces love to come play with the dogs.
My cupboards are full, our house is now furnished. We now have enough money to buy things like candles, and new artwork for the walls.
As I make more money, and become more responsible, my values continue to grow.
I would rather have a home filled with love than a home filled with luxuries.
A home full of love is worth more than anything money can buy.
How do I know this?
Because I have had some of my best moments in life while being in this basement apartment having next to no money in my bank account.
What matters most to me is that we continue to feel comfort in our home no matter what the situation is.
I would not be where I am today without my past relationship falling apart.
I would not appreciate all that I have without going through all that I did.
I would not be here without the help of others: my family, my Saint of a friend, and my other friends who helped me get out on my own.
I would not appreciate the finer things in life if I hadn't struggled with money. Money does not buy happiness. TRUST ME! Because when you have no money, you have two choices: you can wallow, or you can find the beauty in the things that don't cost money.
Thank you to the people who got me here, and thank you God for always listening, opening my eyes, and helping me find the answers through the hard times. If you ask, you shall receive. You just have to be open, and willing to see the answers when you're out in the world.