My house went up for sale this morning.
It’s a voluntary choice – one that I made with a lot of tears and soul searching. This is the only home that’s ever had my name on it. The only home my two small daughters have called ours. It’s the place where I built a life together with their dad. The place I brought them home from the hospital to, standing in the front yard next to the stork that announced their birth. This house has seen every bit of my life in the last eleven years.
It embraced me as a wife and new homeowner, revealing all of its secrets that are never shown during a home inspection. It’s allowed me to paint, decorate, pound nails in walls, hang pictures, replace windows, tear up carpeting, and shape it in to our family’s home instead of those that lived here before us.
It celebrated with me all of the wonderful milestones in my life – birthdays, anniversaries, holiday celebrations, starting a family, blending another one together. It’s stretched its walls to welcome the friends and family that have traveled through it over these eleven years, making everyone feel welcome and comfortable while they were here.
It sheltered me when my marriage ended, allowing me to hide inside its quiet rooms and not judge my tears or fears or pain. It made me feel safe when I panicked that I was now the sole person responsible for the care and upkeep of it. It waited patiently for me to get my confidence back and understand that I could handle it on my own before anything major needed to be done.
It protected me when I needed a safe place to lay my head at night after questioning myself as a person, a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a friend.
It honored my father after he was gone with his unique “lets-fix-this” methods that I have yet to change, regardless of staging needs or real estate requirements. I will forever see his gigantic hands smacking the top of the banister back in to its place in the wall every time it pulls away; the silverware drawer that squeaks when you pull it out because of the nail in the rolling track to keep it in place; or the wire cap on the end of the curtain tie back that was used instead of a drywall anchor. I’m afraid to live in a place that my dad never saw and that I have no memory of him in.
It is terrifying to think of a house that is ONLY mine. My name. My responsibility. Yet at the same time, there is a small part of me that is excited at the thought of a clean slate, a fresh start, and a new beginning. It’s been 4 years since my husband left this house, and 3 1/2 since my father died. I’ve held on to it for long enough. I’ve realized that the time has come for my girls and I to have something that is just ours. Make new memories. Find new safe places and warm corners to snuggle and read and laugh. Decorate it any way I want and change it over a weekend if that what I feel like because it is mine. I can’t spend the rest of my life tied to a house because it’s home to the ghosts of my former life. It’s not the walls or the paint or the furniture that makes it a home. What lives inside our hearts does that. We can take that with us anywhere.
It’s time to move on.
More from living