The house we’ve lived, loved & laughed in for the past 12 years has been painted, polished and staged with pots of fresh orchids. It’s almost unrecognizable. Gone is the clutter and 12 years of stuffed animals. Gone are the nicks in the drywall from countless hockey games in our foyer. Gone is the carpet with the red wine stain from that “adult toy” party and the blue Children’s Advil stain when my youngest son just couldn’t keep it down. In addition to new carpeting, we painted the house inside and out, and thanks to some pesky woodpeckers, replaced the roof. After just 4 frenetic weeks, we put our beloved family home on the market and crossed our fingers that it would sell. The market is slowing everyone warned us, hurry up so you don’t get caught holding two houses.
Our hard work paid off. We received an excellent offer the day we listed. But as relieved as we were to receive the offer, it was like finally deciding to have a family, getting pregnant on the first try and then being utterly overwhelmed at the irreversibility of that decision.
It’s a bit late now I realize, but I’m not ready to move. We’ve conceived and raised 3 kids here. Their heights are marked on a doorframe, which is now painted over in Benjamin Moore Satin Latex in Oxford White, but if I close my eyes I can still see each of them on their birthdays trying to stand as tall as possible while I marked the wall behind them with a Sharpie. Even Sharpies aren’t permanent after all. The dents in the drywall from wayward slap-shots have been filled in and painted. “The house looks new, you’d never know that 3 boys lived here!” my friends say, and my throat tightens.
I’m not ready to move. We’ve hosted innumerable birthdays, thanksgivings, wedding and baby showers and all kinds of celebrations here. Will Santa know where to find us?
The modern house we bought came fully furnished (the sellers are divorcing and wanted to take nothing), so my traditional furniture had to go. I’ve been selling it on Craigslist for 10-20 cents on the dollar to young families and people starting over. This will make the move easier, my friends assure me, but my house now resembles a bowling alley, with nary a chair, couch, or coffee table to stub a toe on. We eat sitting picnic-style on the hardwood floor surrounded by moving boxes marked, “Kitchen – Cookbooks” or “Rec Room – Games.” The house is nearly empty and still I’m not ready.
I’ve got 13 more days to get ready to transplant 12 years of roots. I think I’d better pack the kleenex last.