Well, it looks like we may have finally sold our home. The feelings are very bittersweet.
I hadn't really missed the other house one bit, hadn't really thought about it at all.
Until I needed to go over there for one reason or another.
I'd just figured that since I like our situation here better I wouldn't look back. I'm not sentimental like my husband or kids. I wonder if it's because I moved so much as a kid. Or the fact that most of my memories of the house I spent the longest time in growing up, and where my parents still live, aren't that great. (Don't get me wrong, I wasn't horribly abused or anything, we were just not a family that spent much time together so, being the only girl in a house full of boys and with parents who were occupied with other things, it was quite lonely most of the time. Thank heavens I knew how to read!)
Actually, now that I think about it, the house we are selling WAS the house that I've spent the longest time in, 19 years. That is more than double the time I spent in my parents' house, I lived there about 8 years.
Anyway, the last few times I've been over to our old house I've just felt a little sad to leave it. I wanted to stay and just look around in every room. There are so many strong memories that were made there. We brought all 4 babies home to that house. One of my babies took his last breaths on my bed in that house, while my husband and I held him. Not the best memory, but I'm so glad we were able to be with him and knew ahead of time that it was inevitable. Some people questioned our decision to bring him home to die, but I'm so glad we did. Our other kids ran, giggling, up and down the hallway between the kitchen and the bedrooms in that house for years. We've planted trees in their honor there. They started their first days of school since 1999 in that house, celebrated their first birthdays, their first missing teeth (the girls anyway, Austin is still waiting), their first baths and many, many more firsts. There was also some heartbreak in that house, many years of infertility treatments and disappointments and other things I'm happy to leave behind (like the memories of putting the play yard set together), but when I am over there I only remember the good times. I think I still like that kitchen better, even though it is a lot smaller than the one here. I miss the one long area of counter space where the kids and I rolled out countless cookies, or Hal made his apple pies and everything just made sense where it would go. Sometimes you really don't know what you will miss until you don't have it. There were a lot of good times in that kitchen.
But, when I'm not there I'm here, and I'm happy. Very happy. And I'm busy, which is good. Busy planning and doing and creating and living the many, many memories that I hope to have in this home.
This week we will be cleaning out the last of our things and getting ready for the new owners to move in. We are fixing up a couple of things. (Did you know that things break almost more easily in a home that is vacant? Who knew you should run the dishwasher once in a while so the seal won't dry out and crack.) We will be taking the last of our books out of the shelves that Hal built himself. We will be bringing them to this house, where we have plans for Hal to build more shelves for our many, many volumes of books. We are looking ahead and getting started on some of the remodeling that we had to wait on for the other house to sell. (I might actually get rid of the racing stripes in my kitchen after all!) We are looking ahead and feeling good. There is most likely new insulation and most definitely new windows in our future. Plus some new brick and some kind of new siding for the outside to make it more our style. A bathroom to repaint and remodel. And so the list goes on. There is a lot to do and it will most likely be stressful, but it will also be fun to see the progress as we make this into OUR home. The hardest thing for me will be to be patient. The numbers didn't come in well at all for our sale, so we will have to move a little slower than we had originally planned.
It will be interesting to see what changes the new owners will make in the other house. After all the work we've done here, I am curious to see what they will do to make it theirs.
Even though I am looking ahead and very satisfied with where we are right now and where we are headed, I have much more empathy for Lot's wife. It's going to be really hard not to look back, especially when you know that you are there for the very last time.