DISCLAIMER: This has nothing to do with any professional aspect of my life, just my heart. I wanted to share the life lesson I learned so that others may benefit.
I did something this week that I never ever thought I would do.
I, along with my siblings, sold my childhood home. The only house my siblings and I have ever known to be home.
I can remember growing up and having conversations with my parents about “what to do after we are gone”. My siblings and I would all agree on never letting the house go. One of us would move into it, we collaborated. The “home” would need to stay in the family.
My parents had moved into our family home shortly after they gave birth to my older sister who came 9 months and 4 days after my parents got married. She turned 55 this year. Needless to say there is a lot of our family history in that house.
With any home, the memories created within its walls are vast and varied. Ours held bridal showers, a wedding, birthday and graduation celebrations, a 25th wedding anniversary luau, 53 Christmases, insurmountable illness and even death.
My parents never moved which in many ways created this charming family homestead mentality that my siblings and I felt. We couldn’t imagine this house not in our lives. This house was a reliable fixture for holidays, big birthdays, out-of-towners visiting and Sunday dinners.
Until this week.
The house is cleared. Empty. Ready for the new owners. As we did the final walk through earlier in the week it was nearly heartbreaking to understand that we will never have another Christmas there, we won’t spend any more Sunday afternoons in the kitchen making homemade pasta or have another swinging contest on the swing set. My sister in our mother’s fashion left notes all over the home welcoming the new owners. The house is ready for new memories, new joys, new heartaches. I know the house will take care of the new family as it did mine.
As I saw each room cleared out, clean and empty of life, it hit me like a tons of bricks.
The true home is not the house itself; it is the memories created inside. The house is just a vessel, a commodity even. I was so focused on losing the house that I forgot I would never lose my home. Home is the love we felt when we went back to the house they lived in, created by my parents’ welcome and hospitality. It is clear to me now that this can be felt and experienced anywhere.
Sure, there is something sentimental about “going back home” and looking through your mom’s silver on Thanksgiving and finding your rattle. (No snarky comments…I said rattle not spoon.) There was something magical to have my children sleep in my old room for sleepovers with Grandma and Grandpa, but that simple fact didn’t make the experience it just added to it.
I am not going to lie, it has been a hard process to go through every inch of that home. So many hidden memories rediscovered, so many glimpses into our parents’ lives that we didn’t know or remember. We went through seven decades of accumulated mementoes, miscellaneous odds and ends (just in case Dad needed them), documents, etc. Each piece of their lives we went through and touched felt as if Mom and Dad were slowing passing the torch to our generation. The home they created within our family was being transferred from their heart to ours.
The new home owners have now moved in and began making the house theirs. They too will create a home for their family out of celebrations, life trials, swinging contests and family dinners. We wish them nothing but the best in this new chapter of their lives.
As far as my siblings and I, we hold my parents and all they shared with us in our hearts. They are with us everywhere we travel to or lie our head down at night. My siblings and I are home now…wherever we go creating new memories with our families and each other, just like Mom and Dad taught us.