A Slice of Life

My Own Slice of Life on Saying Good Bye to a House

While my husband and I were just dating, he took me out house hunting. By house hunting, I mean that we went to visit one subdivision and browsed four different model homes. We decided that same day that we loved the most affordable one. A few weeks later, he proposed with the most gorgeous ring I had ever seen and asked me to live in the house that we had recently fallen in love with. Shortly after we sat across the desk from a sales woman and we signed our names on many documents to purchase our new home.

Almost every weekend my fiancé and I would drive to the sight where our house was being built. We would walk around the house and envision a yard with fresh green grass and picture our friends and family visiting and mingling. As the frame for the house went up, our visits increased. We loved walking through our house to see the new developments, new walls, ceilings, new pipes that weren’t there before, doors being hung, windows, a garage door, a driveway, our mailbox! We also made many trips to the interior design building where together we held up little square samples of tile and carpeting and perused sample cabinet doors, bedroom doors, faucets, appliances, light fixtures, and everything else that eventually turned that shell of a house into our home. We registered for our wedding shower with the dimensions of our new house in mind and picked out the perfect pieces of furniture accompanied by color schemes that gave each room a finished look.

After the shower we unpacked all of our new gifts and brought truck loads of our new furniture and most of our belongings to our new house. Just a few weeks later we were married. On our wedding night, my husband carried me through the threshold of our front door and we spent our first night in our new house. As of that moment, we were officially moved in.

Over the next few years, we had the entire house painted with colors and finishes that we picked out, we had hard wood floors laid, we had a fence built, we planted flowers, and we decorated every room. The sidewalk leading to our front door had our names engraved in the cement. Every part of this house was designed for us and by us. We even had to redesign and repaint when it was time to change the office to a nursery.

We brought my daughter home to this house. We spent countless nights helplessly walking around this house in the dark with a crying newborn. We spent an incalculable number of hours just staring at our new baby, taking pictures of her, video recording her every move, feeding her, guessing at how to be parents to her in this house. We celebrated her first Christmas and her first birthday in this house. And then later we brought home another baby to this house! We taught my daughter how to be a sister in this house.

Then we left this house. We moved. We packed up all of our belongings, all of our furniture, all of our decorations from every room, so many cherished memories and we moved. We also took with us unforgettable lessons from the first few years in this house about how to be a husband and wife, how to forgive, and how to love each other even when we didn’t like each other very much. We took learned lessons from our babies about selflessness and sleeplessness. We moved all of this and more into our new house.

When I think about the old house, I feel like I am a grieving a loss… I am sad that we had to leave the house that we started our lives in together. I feel sad when we go back to the old house to collect things left behind. It is a shell of a house again but this time there is a part of us left there, left behind. Our new house still has white walls and some rooms still have bare walls with no decorations but we are all here and we have already turned this shell into a home with new memories and more sleepless nights and more crying babies and more guessing at how to be parents and more forgiving and more loving. Although I love my new house, I’ll always look back fondly on the small house that we say we built and that we filled with love and memories.

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Comments on: "Saying Good Bye to a House" (2)

  1. I was right there with you!

  2. Jill! Let’s talk about all the things I love about this piece, ok? “Guessing how to be parents”?? I LOVE that phrase and I’m writing it in my notebook and I’m going to use it someday. It’s perfect, and that’s precisely how we felt, too.
    And “we taught my daughter how to be a sister in this house” made me smile and cry and feel happy and sad all at one time. It’s the sweetest line, and I wish I had written it.
    And that paragraph about the lessons you and Billy took with you when you moved is touching and sweet and beautiful and I loved it.
    I loved this whole thing. It’s perfection.

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