We’re moving exactly one month from today. We’ve lived in this house for 20 years. When we moved in, we were a young couple with a one-year-old baby girl. The trees were small. The landscaping was nothing but grass. The walls were painted yellow. The carpet was brown shag (including in the bathroom). The stove was brown, the refrigerator gold and the linoleum avocado. It wasn’t pretty. But it was solid and held potential.
As we prepare to leave the only home my children have ever known, I see the baby who is now 21 and her siblings who are 12,14 & 19. I see the towering trees that shade the house so well, air conditioning has never been necessary. I see the massive amount of landscaping planted by my husband over the years including the row of lilac bushes and the vegetable garden so prolific if tended to. I see the rose bushes given to me by my children for mother’s day and all of the irises we planted and divided and planted again over the years. Inside, I see all of the improvements we made to this house with nary an ugly color or shag carpet in sight. We made this home ours and we’ve loved it. Until we outgrew it.
With three bedrooms, one bathroom and six people, we have managed far longer than most people would have. It was really only in the last few years, when all four children grew prone to prolonged primping that the one bathroom became too much. We had rearranged people and furniture in those two bedrooms for years as the kids grew, trying to make it work. We even turned an unheated sunroom into a bedroom just to make it work.
With our oldest heading to graduate school, in town, and the next oldest heading to undergrad, in town, it will still be the six of us for a while longer. So we are moving to a house that allows personal space in their bedrooms and bathrooms (yes, plural bathrooms).
I am excited to move but feel sad for our house. I don’t want it to feel rejected. I know it’s silly. However, as countless strangers came in and judged it brutally during sales showings, I would whisper to the house “I’m sorry. You have been wonderful to us. It’s just time to move on and let someone else love you and have a life in you.” A nice single woman is buying our house. I hope she’ll appreciate it like we have and will grow her life in it. As goofy as it is to feel badly for our house, it makes sense. This house has been a major presence in our lives. It has contained our belongings, been the stage for many celebrations, sheltered us from Colorado’s elements, heard our fights, creaked under our growth, and sometimes been cursed by us. It has been arms around us for 20 years and now we are squeezing through its embrace. Poor house.
Just watch though, within a week of being in our new house, we will have adjusted, thrilled to have what the new house gives us. And we’ll start anew, making a new history in the new house.