Twelve years ago we bought our beautiful antique house. We weren’t yet married, we didn’t have kids, and we didn’t have a clue what fixing up an old house really meant. We thought we should rent a wallpaper steamer when in reality we had to rip entire walls out. Completely. As in, jack up the roof and demolish the room. We were starry-eyed dreamers and had no idea the journey we were about to take.
Our house became a labor of love (and hate at times) and we worked tirelessly with the help of our family. Everyone pitched in over the six months it took to make our house habitable. My dad, in particular, guided us through the various projects and did much of the work himself. He wired, plumbed and renovated every room in the house and together we transformed this house into our home.
So much of our family is here. From the hard work that my Dad did, to the beautiful antiques my mom collected, to the handprints of our children on just about everything. It is us. It is the home that we came to as newlyweds. Doug carried me up the stone steps through the weathered blue front door. The same front door that has opened itself to all four of our brand new babies and countless family members and guests. Doug’s Mom hosted our rehearsal wedding dinner here with just a roughed in kitchen and a garden hose. Because we were so proud of our new home.
This house has seen it’s share of laughter, strife, joy and chaos. It has wrapped it’s old bones around us as we’ve announced pregnancies, celebrated birthdays, lost beloved pets, dressed up for Halloween, planned surprises, endured cuts and bruises, and danced our hearts out. Together. We’ve had slumber parties, campfires, margaritas, tractor rides and s’mores on the patio. We’ve grilled a thousand dinners on the patio and raked a million leaves. We’ve weathered winter storms and watched the explosion of spring year after year. We’ve weeded the gardens, planted seeds, and mowed the lawn. We’ve watched our children take their first steps, learn to read and discover friendships.
I remember the excitement we felt when assembling the crib in the nursery. And the sadness and tears I felt when we took it down ten years later after it cradled four babies. I remember marking every child’s celebratory height on the kitchen wall on their birthday. I smile when I think about all the first days of school, the chaotic bedtime routine, the crafts on the kitchen table and the forts that have come and gone in the living room.
The tears, the laughter, the years. They’re all here. Which is why it is so hard to leave. It’s the only home we’ve ever known together as a family and we will mourn it’s loss. After much debate we have decided to sell our house. In just a few short days we will be leaving this home and starting over in a new place. As long as we are together I know we will be fine and we are all looking forward to our new adventure. But it is hard to go. My heart aches when I walk around and realize how familiar everything is. How every stonewall, and tree and blackberry bush has been ours. I wonder if the next people will feed the birds in the winter. I hope that they appreciate the garden flowers the way I have. I hope they find happiness and warmth here the way we did.
I know that a house is what you make it and I know that we will love our new home. It will become ours and we will fill it with joy, chaos and life. In time we will forget the little nuances of this house and our time here will become a happy memory. But for now, I want to remember it all. I want to give it the respect that it deserves and I really don’t want to forget. Anything. I know that you can’t stop change. Try as I might, I can’t keep my kids from growing up and this is all part of life. It is good and it is right. But it is still hard.
To all the childhood homes and memories held within. Thanks for everything. You will be missed.