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