I cried. It came on me unexpected, a rush of emotion. I had just finished a thorough cleaning of the entire house – my house – and as I turned to look back on my way out, it hit me. This is really happening.
It hit me even harder today. Closing wasn’t supposed to be until Friday. I thought I had a couple more days to finish separating myself from the place I’ve called home for seven years. But having agreed to a last-minute request for an early closing, I had to face the inevitable a little sooner than I’d thought. It’s not my house anymore.
It wasn’t my narrated, final trip through the house with the video camera that brought the tears. It wasn’t even the signing on the dotted line. It was the physical act of leaving. I made it within one step of the door before the sadness fell. And I let it fall. I let the tears fall. Head down, heart heavy, I cried.
And just when new tears had stopped forming, they flowed again down my wet cheeks when my son looked up at me with his emotion written on his face and said, “Mom? Can I walk through the house one last time?”
I knew this might not be easy for the kids. They’ve never moved before – or at least not when they could remember. Abel was 11 months old when we bought that house. Tomorrow, he turns eight – his first birthday not celebrated there.
Fighting tears and losing, my choked response came. “Sure.” He took off upstairs as though on a mission. A mission to remember, and a mission to arrive at peace.
When he completed his final walk-through, I asked him what he had thought about. “Grandparents coming to visit, and the time when the twins were two and we all had a Lego-building party in my room.”
Family. His most treasured memories from this place are centered around special times with family.
And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Family is what makes a house a home. That house is special to him – to us – because of the people who filled its walls with love. Even as I struggled to pull that door closed behind me today, all re-entry rights surrendered inside, it was the scenes of life replaying in my head that caused my heart to be sad.
My eyes cloud with tears once again as I write this. I know it’s okay to feel sad, but still I fight a feeling of guilt over the emotion. This place is not our home anyway, the voice charges. That’s true – we’re just passing through. But this is all part of the journey. God created us for home and family. He created us to feel.
Tonight, I’m feeling. I sit in a different, warm home amid all my stuff, my husband next to me and our kids safe in their beds, and my emotions stir quietly inside my head.
When we wake up tomorrow, we won’t be torn between two addresses. The one isn’t ours anymore. It’s time to start making new memories in this new place. What better way to start than with the birthday of our boy who so highly values his family.