The End of a Chapter

Our house officially is under contract. Despite what seemed like three interminably long months of cleaning, depersonalizing, updating and stressing over pricing, it was listed last week and two offers came in almost immediately. We excitedly chose the highest bid and let out a deep sigh of relief. If all goes well, we will close in July – just as our new residence is ready to inhabit.

We shared the news with the kids and it did not take long for them to decide they want to come home. Through text messages and a couple of phone conversations, they claimed they want to be together as a family – just us four – for one final time in the house that’s been our home for the past eighteen years.

On the one hand, it’s weird that these two independent young adults (twenty-seven and twenty-five) want to shlep from Palo Alto and Chicago, respectively, to Atlanta for just a couple of days. They truly haven’t been home much since college and didn’t even seem to care that I was cleaning out and updating their rooms as I prepared to sell the house.

On the other hand, the sudden surge of sentimentality actually is easy to understand. After all, they were nine and seven all those years ago when we moved in. They chose the color of their room walls. They picked out their “big boy” and “big girl” bedroom furniture. Their much smaller handprints are in the concrete that surrounds the base of the basketball goal. Memories of holidays, pool parties, visitors from out of town, and countless other activities over the years still permeate the rooms and hallways.

I have no idea how one says goodbye to a home, but we’ll figure something out.

*     *     *

A colleague from work is in the process of buying a new home too. Though her two children are younger than mine were, she’s the same age that I was when we stretched to buy this “dream” house. She asked my opinion on buying a very affordable home that was okay, versus buying one that’s expensive but awesome. Would it be worth it? I told her this story. My experience — my children’s childhood — was worth every penny. I wish for her eighteen years will yield the pride and joy that I have the opportunity to reap today.

*     *     *

A lump formed in my throat and my eyes welled with tears as I drove down my street on the way home this evening. It’s so beautiful and inviting. This summer, a new family with twin girls will move into this neighborhood and a place we happily called home. I hope their new chapter will be wonderful.

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