The “For Sale” sign is up. So is my anxiety level as we have now entered real estate limbo. We’re moving… but not yet. We’re living here… but only a while longer.
Last time we sold a house, it was on the market for six hellish months. Two things I remember most about that time eighteen years ago: The phone would ring requesting a showing just as I’d strapped our one-year-old into her high chair for dinner … And, I hid baskets of laundry on the far side of our bed, hoping lookers would merely glance into the room and not walk in far enough to see the mounds that accumulated daily with a pre-schooler and a baby.
When we finally had an offer, it came from a couple who had come to the Open House the very first week our home was on the market. They’d loved it and spent those months saving for a down payment. Serendipity. The home didn’t sell because it was waiting just for them.
As for us, we looked and looked, made a few offers, and had a couple of deals fall through. Then, the week we sold our old house, we found this one. On the market just five days, we jumped on it. Although we had been mightily disappointed when the other homes didn’t work out, this was by far the best one for us. Serendipity again.
At the risk of getting too touchy-feely, here’s what got me through those six long months of real estate limbo. I reflected on the concept of “home” and what it really means. More than just four walls with a certain number of bedrooms, new carpet, the right countertops and an extra bathroom, I began to think about “home” in a more abstract sense. The “perfect home” was where our children would be safe, where we would nurture our family, welcome our friends, dream our dreams.
There’s a reason for the cliché “Home is where the heart is”… And even though we’ll soon be leaving this house, John and I will carry the concept of “home” across the country with us. Even though our children will no longer return to this house, they can always return home.
Inspite of the sweat equity, financial investment and material improvements we’ve made over the last eighteen years, it’s the living and loving that’s brought the place to life. I can almost see our kids’ lives flash before me as I remember them riding bikes in the cul-de-sac, shooting hoops in the driveway, walking up the street to school, making music in the basement, setting up an obstacle course in the yard, opening presents on Christmas morning, playing with the dog, taking pictures in front of the fireplace before a school dance…
It’s all coming with me, every memory, every moment. I must take them along—but not just for me. I’ve got to get out of the way so another family can grow and dream. I may be leaving them a house, but they have to make it a home of their own.