It has been a roller coaster of a week. Our cross-country move isn’t slated to happen until the end of December, but in order for it to be seamless, a lot of the work is being done now. We’re working our fingers to the bone trying to prepare the Arizona house for listing. There is at least reward in seeing all of our hard work paying off. The house looks better than it’s ever looked before because we’re following through on all of the little projects that need to be completed. My laundry room is gorgeous; Jeff put in a board and batten wall with hooks to make it all the more functional for the new homeowners (sniff, sniff). The yard and property is pristine. We’ve spent money and time restoring every single thing to its like-new condition. In short, whoever buys this home is going to be very, very happy.
Which, of course, brings me to the people who are going to vacate this home in preparation for the new owners: us.
On the advice of the wise Pinterests, I’ve packed up most all of our personal belongings so that when the house is shown, it can be viewed as home to the prospective buyers. With each frame I’ve taken down from the walls–with each photo I’ve removed and each memento I’ve packed up–I’ve grown increasingly sentimental. This house, you see, is more than that. It’s our home. Before it was tied to us, it was quite literally nothing but dirt. And desert brush.
We signed a contract right after we were married–in October 2004. And then, of course, All Of The Plans swiftly changed. Jeff was deployed to Iraq. The customization addendum to the contract bears my signature twice–once to represent myself and once with a Power of Attorney on behalf of my absent husband.
I would drive out to the property with the kids buckled up in the backseat. We watched it go from this
It was a slow moving process–slower than they had promised it would be. So slow, in fact, that my handsome young soldier returned before they even put up a frame.
But things began to pick up in the summer of 2005.
Here they are standing in what would become our family room. Just look at those bitty girls. That taller one in front there will bear my first grandchild next month.
And then there was me–back when I could still sort of pull a belly shirt.
We would go to the property and watch as slowly it took shape–as bit by bit they framed the foundation of what we’d come to know as home.
Towards the end it was torture–the waiting. The agent would call with promises he’d break the next day. But then finally it came to be: a closing date set in stone. We dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s and then suddenly it was ours.
We started moving in that very first night, cramming everything we could fit into the Durango. We grabbed drive-thru McDonald’s and ate in a circle on the floor where our table would go.
I remember waking up in the pitch black during the first few nights and trying to find my way to the bathroom through unfamiliar rooms. And now, ten years later, I could find my way blindfolded with my hands tied behind my back.
We brought a baby home here. We’ve snuggled in and grown up. We’ve loved and fought and laughed and cried. We’ve raised toasts and extended grace. We’ve hosted birthday parties and bonfires and more dinners than I could count. These walls know so much. The echoes of little girl giggles and the dents of a boy’s two front teeth. Our family–our people–have come together here for turkey and all the trimmings, for stockings hung by the fire.
These rooms tug on my heart to stay, to defend claim on this place.
Will we come back and see who’s living in our house? Kennedy asks.
It won’t be our house then, I answer.
Incredulous, she says, It will always be our house. It was built for us. How could it ever be anything but our house?
I can’t answer because
Darcie, I’m not sure if I missed it somewhere along the way, but where across country are you moving?
We’re moving to Huntsville, Alabama, Mary. Have you ever been there?
No I haven’t been to Alabama, but I’ll look forward to hearing all about it!
I feel that way about the house I grew up in. Always home.
I find it interesting, though, that I have recently been writing about almost the opposite of what you’ve said here, and yet it’s the same, too. I love old houses for the history, the marks, the memories that they contain, just as you prefer a new home where you make them all your own.
I hope your new one brings you as much joy as this one has.
Where have you been writing about the opposite of what I said? Somewhere that’s published publicly so that I might read it? (hint hint) I would love to! And thank you for the well wishes, my friend. Part of the joy of this move will come in being that much closer to a certain family in Kentucky! ;)
I’m glad I didn’t put any makeup on before reading that. It made me cry. You have put so much into that house, and you have done so much with your own hands. We had some fun times there a while back.
We have had some fun times here, haven’t we? So many happy memories to take along with us when we go.
I’m still having trouble believing you are moving!
So fun to see those pictures! Hard to believe you’ll be moving on from here. I’m glad we’ll get to take at least one final “trip” together to Mom 2.0. ;)
It’s a bittersweet move for us; there are a number of things we’ll miss about Tucson. But I, too, am thankful for (and looking forward to) another trip together!