We bought it when The Boy was only 6 months old, we painted and updated every room - I poured over various hue's of blue until I thought I found the perfect Superman-blue, then we edged the windows in bright red. The perfect room to raise a strong young man.
I went all retro in the kitchen spending hours hunting down the perfect metal signs for the walls. I got my black and white checkered floor and fantastic new appliances (over time and payments, that is).
I planted The Lily Garden the year we had our ectopic pregnancy (at almost 11 weeks) and spent years watching my Lily return to me from late Spring until Fall. I couldn't grow a field of dandelions if I tried... but for some strange reason those Lillie's grew taller and thicker every year.
The idea of selling our home, giving up my independence and losing (almost all) of our investment in the home was hard.... the children had to say goodbye to the only home they knew - to their sweet rooms with shelves that lines the walls holding The Boy's CARS collection and The Girl's room holing my Shirley Temple collection. All packed away, all put into storage.
I couldn't decide at the time what was harder, - *my* having to say goodbye... or watching *them* have to say goodbye to their toys and their lives... and their space. The door frame where I had marked The Boy's height since he could stand, the pin-striped wall-paneling in the bathroom that my brother did custom and by hand.... just, every little thing we did to make it ours. To lose that all... to a stranger.... it was so hard.
After the sign went up, life went.... crazy. I had a few offers from people: a man calling from Japan wanted to buy the house for full price. A man in North Florida wanted to buy the house at "wholesale" (whatever that means) because he said he was in the 'transportation' business and needed a place to 'store' some of the goods he was 'transporting'. I wasn't sure what that meant... but I was pretty sure the neighbors didn't want to find out what that meant either. Another nice man in South Florida called, he was retired and widowed. He said he lived very well and had a large home with a pool and he offered to let the children and I come live with him... but seeing as how I didn't think I wanted to spend day potentially locked in a man's basement applying lotion... I kindly passed on his offer.
We got investment offers from Texas and Arizona and all over the country.... but I turned them all down. This house had always been a family home since the day it was built, I wanted it to stay that way. I wanted my home - a place where I thought I had found myself - and found the most happiness I had ever known... to continue to be that place for someone else. So I turned every one down and waited for my family to come.
Then.... 20 days into the insanity the phone rang and it was a family who wanted to see the house. They had had some recent troubles getting a house and were at wits end when a co-worker showed them the site for our home and they were hooked.
They came out that day and made us a full price (and a little bit over, actually) offer on the house only 23 days after the sign went up on the front lawn.
I instantly liked them. I felt very connected to them, I felt very comfortable around them. The children - well, they *adore* them.... and standing in our living room negotiated terms - it already felt like they belonged there - which I found incredibly odd at the time.
Three weeks into the process they were having a yard sale and I thought it would be fun for the children and I to stop by and purchase a piece of them to have with us... I know that sounds bat sh*t crazy.... but it's true. A trinket - a wee statue or some kind of knick-knack that I could put on a shelf later and know that it represented this time in my life and these people who were buying our home.
Of course, five minutes into trolling the goods on the front lawn The Boy had to go potty... of course. So, they led us into the house and I nearly stopped dead in my tracks. Their mocha-walled living room hosted a sectional and the walls had white time..... just. like. mine.
The kitchen... was a retro 1950s kitchen with a Formica table and trinkets everywhere... it was like standing in a slightly differently version of my own kitchen.
The weeks and months of uncertainly and tears and pain over selling my children' childhood home... it all came to rest standing on their tiled floor. I saw so many things I loved about their kitchen - things I would do in my *own* kitchen and I knew right then and there... the *right* people were buying my house.
I left that day feeling a millions pounds lighter because I could see that my home was *already* their home... sure, they will change my wall color (best not touch my bathroom dammit) and they will change it and make it their own - but.... I could see that what I had loved about my house - they also loved about my house.
Weeks went by and we all grew to become friends... well, not so much El Capitan. They weren't terribly impressed with his "work schedule" and that because he was working it was on me to seal and grout EVERY crack in our 100foot driveway, back patio and front walkway.... or, any of the other repair requests from the mortgage company. They weren't too impressed at all... and yet, they showed me so much kindness and patience and love.
Honestly.... when you show up to help pack and move out some crazy banshee/crying woman who is at her emotional wits end - *not* because you have been friends with her for years... but simply because you know no one else is coming to help... that is love.
To take apart furniture and lift boxes and load trucks and unload trucks into storage for hours, when you have your own home to pack up and move.... that is love.
El Capitan was 'working' and unable to help. That was *not* love...
On our last day I was a total wreck... a full scale 9.0 on the emotional earthquake scale... and yet they never got mad, never got annoyed - they, with my parents, Miss Cheryl and Jenny-Jen-Jen & family - all came to hold my hand and carry boxes.
Knowing them... watching them laugh with my children, see their happiness at getting our home... it made it all so much easier because while I was sad to be leaving behind so much of who we were as a family - I knew that our home was *meant* to be their home.
Slowly.... it didn't even feel like my home anymore - which made packing up that last box a little bit easier. I still had a total meltdown on my living room floor and cried and cried until my eyes were puffy and swollen and raw from rubbing.... but, believe, that was a step up.
Knowing that these wonderful people were going to live in my house (and promised to take care of, never remove my Lily garden) - it made it ok... because I wasn't just "selling my home" - the children and I were gaining lifelong friends... and houses come and go: but friends matter the most.
Point in fact, just today I got a text message, "Presents for the kids, love to see you - come by this weekend?" - and it's from one of the buyers. I'm looking forward to seeing what changes they've made and the children are excited to see *them* - not the house mind you.... but people living in it. That's pretty amazing..... but then again, my kids *are* pretty amazing sometimes.
So today.... I am grateful for the people who bought my home. I am grateful that the *right* people bought my home and even more grateful that they have been become friends to me and the children.... what an added bonus. If there is nothing I've learned int he last 9 months, it's that things and objects and cars and homes can *all* be replaced if they need to be.... but the *people* in our lives are what truly matter, they are the only thing that really count.
I may never find someone again to love me... but it was incredbily healing for me to find someone who would love my house the way I had.... it was a real blessing. I'm grateful for them, for the friendship they've shown me and for the blessing that it was to sell my home to them.