I first wrote this in September of 2009 when my Dad first put the house on the market. It has just sold. It feels right to re-post it now.
Dear new home owners,
I know to you this house you just bought is fresh and exciting and you are eager to make it your own. I thought maybe if you knew a bit about it, you would learn to love it much faster than if it was just a “house” you slapped down a huge mortgage for. It was my childhood home and in a way, like a member of the family.
You see, I get that a house consists basically of four walls and a roof. A home? That is a totally different story. A home is the place where you live. Where you are loved. The place where you create your memories. It is the place where you are free to be happy or sad, share laughter or tears, argue and make up. A home is your safe place to land when you fall. I hope you can make this place your home for you and for any children you have. She will take good care of you if you love her.
Growing up, my home was the place to be. Ask any of my friends (many are on Facebook and can tell you) that my home was where people liked to go hang out. Sometimes, they would go there even when I wasn’t home yet just to hang out with my Mom. (I used to get so frustrated that my friends would hang with her before me. I now realize how incredible that is.) Mom was not known by “Mrs.” or her first name. To everyone who was my friend and knew her, she was simply Mom. Mom to the world. She made my house growing up a wonderful home. Dad was the same way. Of course, he was at a disadvantage working so much and missed out on many chances to blatantly steal hang out with most of my friends. Either way, my parents gave me an amazing home while I was growing up. The house you have just bought.
Now? You own that house. It is hard to put into words why this is breaking my heart. In fact, I hesitate to say anything because I have already caused hurt feelings by being so attached to a “house”. But that house was my home long after I was married and owned my own home. It was where I went to find peace. It was the place I went when I needed to remember who I was, where I came from and just– for a little while– be a kid no matter how old I was.
I have the most amazing memories this house I grew up in. Memories that I feel helped make me who I am today. Memories that shape the woman I became and the Mom I want to be. I lived there. I mean, I really “lived” there for so many years. It holds my past. Here are just a few that I cherish and am holding on to now.
Bringing home my first best friend after we moved there and having her sleep over. We stayed up all night bugging the DJ’s on the radio. (79Q AM Rocked!) After hours of middle of the night calling, I finally won A Flock of Seagulls record. My best friend and I shared our deepest secrets in my room. It was also the same room I cried my eyes out when that very same friendship shattered.
Bringing home boys who wanted to go out with me and letting them meet my parents. Worse yet, letting them meet my brother after one of them broke my heart.
Getting together with my circle of friends and talking well into the night and playing “truth or truth” because we were all too tired to actually do any dares. (I learned a lot from those nights!)
Having friends come over and hang out even if I wasn’t there because they adored Mom and had just as much fun– if not more fun– with her than with me.
Having the boy who I knew was “the one” stay over night downstairs (with very squeaky stairs to prevent any sneaking up or down them, I might add) so he wouldn’t have to drive home so late at night.
Being proposed to in the middle of the night one weekend home from college in front of that oh-so-ugly couch that we all had to endure when we had a date over. Crying and saying yes and wanting to shout but knowing it was our secret until morning.
Having my best friend stay with me the night before my wedding as we laughed and talked and were just enjoying our time together.
Remembering how Dad woke me up with a rose on my wedding day.
Coming home to stay with my Mom and Dad for the summer after our son Jacob died because Clint was transferred out of state and I needed a safe place to stay until the company offered him a full time position in Dallas. Remembering the comfort that being with my Mom and Dad brought to me while I mourned the loss of my baby. Knowing that in that home, in my room, I would always be taken care of at any age.
Two of my three children had their first birthday parties there.
It is where we all gathered for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It is where I go when I need to feel the cocoon of my youth, the safety of my childhood.
It was the last place my Mom lived. I mean really lived. The last place she laughed. The last place she walked. The last place she stood up and gave me a real hug. It is the one place I can go and really and truly feel my Mom. When I am there, I feel her as if she could reach out and hug me at any moment. In a way, that house is where I go when I need to feel safe and to feel Mom.
It is my childhood home.
I know that it is a “house” and these memories will stay with me no matter where my Dad lives. But I have to be honest enough to say, I will miss that childhood home terribly. I understand life moves forward and you have to move forward with it. I just wish I could keep the house and still move forward.
Dad is not selling the house “just because he wants to” or because it is too big now. There is wonderful reason he is moving and I am thrilled for him. (He is getting married.) That is a cause for celebration. In that respect, I am very happy for him and for the new journey this will take all of us on.
I do still feel like I am losing a part of my family now that you have bought this house.
I may get sad now and then when I think about it and want to see it. So, if you see a woman in a van outside staring at your new house and crying, I am not crazy. I am just remembering.
By then, our home will have become your house. (And I do so hope, your home.) And like I said before, a home is where your family is, where the ones you love live. You can make any house a home. I know that. I just wanted to say, I really, really do love my childhood home. It was very good to me.
So, new owners, please take good care of her. She was good to us and holds more memories than I can share. I thought about letting you know how to bypass the squeaky stairs (there is a way, you know) or the various nooks and crannies that hold secrets, but you will have to find those out by yourself. It is yours to discover.
All I ask of you is this: Love her. Because? She is very loved by many.
Warmest wishes and best of luck in your new home,
ps- My Dad’s house has not sold yet. But I know it will and by then, it will be too hard to write this.
PPS- The house sold. And I was right…there is no way I could write this now. (04/13/2012)