Today is the day that we close on the house that we have called home for over nine years. I’ve never lived anywhere longer and the process of moving out and moving on has been as painful as a divorce. I am absolutely devastated when I sit still long enough to think about it.
I spent much of Friday and Saturday cleaning her up for her new people. I’d hate to have them move in and be frustrated by a mess left behind. I went so far as to scrub the corner of a kitchen window with a toothbrush… I cleaned the oven and washed and dusted every surface. Aside from a few disaster areas (behind the fridge and stove) the house was in pretty good shape to start with. As it happens when you move, things are left behind so there were little piles that ended up equaling multiple carloads by the time all was said and done.
While I scrubbed and cleaned, I cried. Every place I looked held a memory… I was here when I told EN once, twice, three times that we would be parents again. I was here when I lost the first one, then the second… It was here that Sugar tumbled down the stairs, and here that we brought Spice home after she was born. It was here that both Sugar and Spice woke up on their respective first days of kindergarten and waited anxiously for a new adventure to begin.
We’ve celebrated many holidays, finally being the only people in our families with a house big enough to hold us all. We’ve decorated for Christmas, Halloween, even Easter and Thanksgiving on occasion. We planted flowers, bushes and trees and put up a pool.
We bought this home as a family of three. Two parents in their early 30’s with a daughter that was barely a year old. Through the years as our family changed, so did our house. We added color and Sugar’s bedroom moved across the hall, then we lost the office and created a bedroom for a second baby. We moved in with our dogs and cats, and now only have one of the original four left. We left our beloved Tammy buried in the backyard, but Brigette and Dusty were carefully transported to the new house in their urns.
This was a house that we built. We carefully chose every carpet, cabinet, countertop and paint color. Our home was a reflection of who we were. We lived there, and laughed and cried there. We hung our girls’ portraits and artwork on the walls, and carefully removed all the bits and piece of our lives when it was time to go.
I cleaned and scrubbed and tried to remove all evidence that our family had ever been there. But there are some things that we couldn’t take: the bits of chewed up wall trim that the puppies we brought home inflicted on the woodwork, the gouge in the wall left when Spice careened through the kitchen in her walker, the stain in the bathroom cabinet left behind by me leaving the water running for the cat.
As I write this blog, I realize there was one thing I forgot to go back and do. While I was cleaning the upstairs hallway, I noticed handprints going up the wall next to the stairs. I meant to go back and wash the wall, but I’m secretly glad I didn’t. Those little girl handprints were what we left behind to prove that we were there once and we loved being there.