Husband and I are now officially one of those couples in a movie who talk about “our first place” with a romantic nostalgia of remember when… Remember when we lived in that little apartment on Broad Street above the Windmill is what we will say. Remember when we lived in our cozy apartment in Westfield next door to the Starbucks with our two dogs and barely a dime? Weren’t those the good ol’ days?
Husband and I will have been together for 5 years in March and although our relationship was plenty solid and full of adventure before Westfield, this place made us a real family. Husband and I and Jersey moved into this apartment on September 11, 2009. By the time we moved out, we would also have Olive, an engagement and a baby on the way.
When we went back home to NJ for Christmas we knew we had to go back to Westfield. In strolling around and feeling that nostalgic feel only a place you lived in intimately could make you feel, I really missed it — heart strings tugging at your chest — missed it. Wandering around the streets that Husband and I walked along together and created memories on was even better now, walking around with Rafa. We were married and parents now like so many of the families we had seen before.
It hit me then that where you live becomes a part of your family just as much as the people. Westfield was the first place that we called “home” together. Before we were parents, Westfield was a place where we threw dinner parties, took our dogs on leisurely walks to the park across the street. It was a place where we did our food shopping together every Sunday at Trader Joe’s when we didn’t need to buy formula, where I woke up 5 minutes earlier for work to get my Starbucks coffee from the same baristas. There were moments in Westfield that were just ours: mine and his. When there was a huge snowstorm in 2009, Westfield was a ghost town. All the stores were closed and the only visions you saw were the ghosts that called Downtown Westfield home. The parking garage behind our building was an empty pool of snow and Husband and I took Jersey for his first play in the snow. It was all ours, no one else’s. We left our fresh boot prints in the snow and when we were done, climbed the stairs to our apartment, made hot chocolate, and watched TV on our cozy couch where we napped while the snow continued to fall. It was where we became solidified, where he and I truly became us.
That was our Westfield. The place we will forever look back upon as our first apartment, our first home. That little, cozy place right above the Windmill.