Friday, January 17, 2014

The long good-bye

From the very first time I opened our front door,

June 18, 2010
I knew I'd one day be closing it, too.

Justin is a graduate student, and he'll be graduating in May.  I will update more later about our future plans, but suffice it to say that he has been offered his dream job, and it's an amazing opportunity for our family.  We're grateful for that opportunity, so excited for the new community, looking forward to finding our new home.  But none of that makes this any easier.

We met with our realtor yesterday.  We've started saying the long good-bye to our house.

You may think I'm just overly sappy.  Especially if you've just been reading in the past few months when I've gone all mom-blog and philosophical, you might not understand why I call this house my "first baby."  We have seen this house through from a neglected, broken building.  We have put thousands of hours into making it our home.  This transformation came with our literal blood, sweat, and tears.  We have refinished (or in many cases, completely replaced) every wall, floor, and ceiling in the house.  We chose every color, every finish, every faucet, every everything.

We hold the ideal of home in high esteem, and consider this our sanctuary from the world.  But to sell a house, you have to open it up.  Let strangers traipse through, let them look in your closets and wander through your basement.  Convert it from a place where we live (and sometimes leave our laundry on the floor) to an exhibit, a pristine showplace.  We must let them in - with all of their opinions - to judge all the work we've done and the choices we've made.

But they can never know, as they wonder about whether or not they want an orange kitchen,

that seeing that kitchen was literally my dream come true after I spent more than a year cooking like this:

and then more than a month looking something like this:

And walking upstairs to the bedrooms will never feel the same as it did for someone who lived in the kitchen:

or who did "carpet angels" the first time we could go upstairs to do anything but hard physical work:

They'll wonder if they like the amount of storage, but they won't know that the closet was a Christmas gift or how many times I had to go to work with paint spots on my arms before the bathroom closet was finished and the special primer finally washed off after multiple days worth of showers.

They won't know which floor tile I was laying when one of my best friends called to say she was engaged.

They'll see a house that looks decent these days, but won't know that by comparison it looks amazing.  They'll find things to criticize, I'm sure.  I find things I wish looked better, but most of the time they have some happy memory.  I see the things we learned, the pride of accomplishment, the friends who helped with each room, the things that were happening in our lives as each thing was done, not the imperfect drywall or the slightly crooked tiles.

You leave any space with memories.  Last night as I was falling asleep, I felt like a sappy commercial as images flashed by of all the happy times we've had in our house - parties, dinners, quiet evenings as a family.  I hope and pray that someone decides to buy our house who will be as happy here as we were.  Someone who will love this place - despite its faults - just as much as we have.

And as we prepare for it to be their home and not ours, we start the long goodbye.  As we start to pack up some of our personal decorations and move things from the basement to storage, it slowly becomes less ours.  Slowly becomes less "home" and more "house," until we hand over the keys this summer and we have to say our final goodbye to all but our memories.

I could add all sorts of caveats about knowing of all the "hellos" that are to come, about knowing that it's just a house, not a person who's died.  About knowing of all the other people who move all the time, and have loved their houses just as much.

But I don't need to write about all that today.  I know it's all true.  But goodbye is never easy, and we've started the long goodbye.

P.S. Some more "before" and "after" (although it hasn't been updated in a while) here.


  1. Beautiful sentiments - no need to feel bad about directing them towards your home. After all the TLC your family put into that house, I'm sure it's going to miss you just as much!

  2. I feel like potential buyers need to read your blog to know what kind of work went into the house!!! The whole "labor of love" thing is totally a selling point :)

  3. R.I.P. to the random wooden shapes on the door that probably held sentiment to someone :'(