Yesterday I put my house up for sale. It amazed me what emotions came up and bit me in the behind the moment I finished talking to the realtor. I thought I was prepared…apparently I wasn’t. In order to bring everyone up to speed, I need to go back a few months ago when I married the man of my dreams (at the ripe old age of 56) and moved into his home. Whose house to live in wasn’t really an issue. Since my house was 2 stories and his was a ranch, he figured going up the stairs would just get harder as we aged, so here we are in his house. The hard part was.. we both lived in the homes where we were previously married to other people and raised our children. Each home was filled with memories that will never go away…each home was filled with possessions that were amassed during long marriages….and we both have adult children that were trying to adjust, his children getting used to seeing a different woman in their house, and mine having to give up the home they were raised in. I think it would have been easier to just sell our houses and purchase something together, a blank slate, so to speak, where new memories could be made. In the end I respect my husband and know that at our age it makes no sense to start over with a new mortage…etc….so here we are.
In order to get the house ready to sell we have been doing work to fix the things that I should have had fixed, but found difficult to do as a single mom and homeowner. A few months ago I finished cleaning up after the painters left and just sat on the stairs and listened to the silence. As I let my mind wander I was flooded with memories and sounds and smells. My ex-husband and I bought the house in 1985 or 1986 (I have always been awful with dates) when our 2 oldest were about 4 and 6. They loved having a big yard to play in, and the neighborhood was chock full of kids. Later we brought home 2 more babies who grew up and called the house a home. They have all grown up and moved away, except my youngest daughter, who is 15 and has begun this adventure right by mommas side, trying to adjust to these new digs. My husband has converted a wonderful room in the basement, complete with cable, a new tv, dvd player and a DVR (which I had no idea what that was, but she was excited!)
The mind is an amazing part of the body and it is funny how as I sit back and recall the years in that house, I only remember the good and happy times. I can close my eyes and picture giving the newborn babies baths in the kitchen sink, drying them off and dressing them on the dining room table, never forgetting to lotion them down with Baby Magic. Then there were the tub baths, usually with multiple kids at once because momma had 400 other things to do at the same time. I would sit on the toilet (with the lid closed..sheesh) and they would get out one by one to get dried off, powdered, hair brushed, pj’s on and head downstairs for a little tv and a bedtime snack. I always knew that I could have a little extra time in my day when they could bathe themselves. Unfortunately by the time they could take a bath alone, they were growing up at the same time.
Now came the memories of the sibling fights, the refusals to share, the fears of thunderstorms and tornados, the broken bones, the stitches, the calls to poison control, the surgeries, the toothaches, the “I hate you mom”, the “I can do it myself MOM!”, the “I love you mom”. The house was always messy, no matter how much I straightened it up, and it was never quiet, except after midnight. There was endless laundry and endless dishes. to be washed. Then right before my eyes new memories were made as they grew older. Now it was broken hearts, broken friendships, letting them leave town with another teenager behind the wheel, letting them leave town with THEM behind the wheel, the same clutter, except now the pile of shoes at the door are bigger in size. There are endless stops at the grocery store and there always seemed to be an extra kid at the dinner table. There are proms, musicals, plays, football games, volleyball games, piano lessons, pom poms, tumbling, band concerts, bicycles, chorus concerts, speech competitions, pools, scholastic bowl meets, weight lifting, homecoming dances, senior nights, confirmations, brownie scouts, girl scouts, cub scouts, boy scouts, almost Eagle scouts, first jobs, senior pictures, front porch swinging, graduations from preschool, eight grade, high school, college, moving somebody out in the fall and back in the spring, singing around the piano at night, sand boxes, countless birthday parties, getting to choose their birthday meal and favorite cake, tricycles, sleepovers, baseball in the front yard, bake sales, swing sets, homework, science fair projects, weddings, grandbabies, saying goodbye, praying everyday for their safe returns from somewhere as close as the town over, to far away places like Europe, Iraq and Korea.
Yep, if these walls could talk they would tell the story of one crazy family that that fought, laughed and loved throughout the years. And soon perhaps there will be a new family in the house making new memories, just as my adult children have turned their ‘houses” into “homes”, and my daughter, new husband and I will make new ones here! Its true, home is where the heart is and there is a difference between a house and a home. Plus, a few months ago one of my oldest daughters friends told me…..”Your house always smelled like cookies when I would come over!” This brings a smile to my face and that lump in my throat is gone!