It was the summer of 1986 (two months before the beginning of my senior year of high school) when my mom purchased her first home. It was a 1,600 square foot town house about 5 miles east of downtown St. Paul. It doesn't sound like much but it may as well have been a sprawling estate on multiple acreage. That was the perspective my brother and I had, given we had lived in small apartments where we had to share a bedroom our entire lives.
The nice thing about that house was that mom always kept our respective bedrooms clean in the event either of us needed to move back home after our initial move outs. I know I definitely took her up on that offer a few times, whether it was due to a broken engagement in 1992, a financial struggle in 1996 or a stopgap until the completion of my wife and I's home in 2008.
Over the weekend, mom accepted an offer to sell that house. Given that the real estate market is currently favorable to sellers, there ended up being a bidding war, thus there was an increase in the original listing price. After the initial increase, there were two prospective buyers willing to pay the new amount, so it was the opinion of mom's realtor that she could counter with an even slightly higher price to determine who was most serious. However, mom declined. Of the two offers, one was put forth by a single mother who has two young daughters. Remembering how mom was in a similar situation (but raising two boys) in 1986, she chose to return the generosity that was shown her 30+ years earlier and accept an offer that was lower than what she ultimately could have garnered.
While I only resided in that home a grand total of 10 out the nearly 31 years mom has owned it, I still feel a special attachment to it because it's the only actual house I ever lived in growing up. Regardless, that house represents the faith mom had that, despite enduring some significant trials, everything would turn out OK. And it did. Now that mom will be living in a one-level apartment, there's no longer the physical burden of managing three levels. In addition, she's now enhanced what has been an enjoyable retirement for the past 15 years. Believe me, she's earned it.