Dear Bob and Sally (not their real names!),
I have been in complete denial about the sale of our home. Now, we are closing on the sale this week and I have a lot of stuff to get done. Instead, I am writing this letter to you.
Like the two of you, my husband and I bought this house when it was off the market. We did everything a buyer is not supposed to do and became emotionally attached right away. We paid too much for the house during the recession when it was a buyers’ market. We just knew this was the house we wanted to spend the rest of our lives in. We saw so much potential despite the wallpaper (long gone) and faux marble purple swirl scalloped sinks (still there!) We loved the beautiful yard and the neighborhood. This was going to be our home.
When we moved in, my oldest (now almost 11) was about to start kindergarten. My second son (now 8) was 3 years old and I was pregnant with our baby girl. We had done our due diligence and researched not only the school district, but the precise schools they would be going to for their entire public school lives. It was very important to both of us that our kids have consistency and predictability. We didn’t want them to have to change schools once they started. We picked the right place because the kids love their school.
My husband put a tv in the master bedroom so I would have something to watch throughout nighttime feedings. We had a rocker/glider that sat right at the foot of the bed, where I fed my baby girl night after night while searching for “Taxicab Confessions”. About two years later, our youngest son (now almost 4) was born and so the nighttime ritual continued. The glider is gone, but when I walk into my bedroom, I can still see it sitting there at the foot of my bed. Two tv trays on either side of it to hold the tv remote and lots of water.
The almost perfect home (except for all the brass and faux marble), in the perfect neighborhood, with the perfect schools, with the perfect yard for the kids to run and play. We even put up the perfect play set back up by the woods. We had picnics and ran through sprinklers, camped outside–we even had my oldest son’s preschool graduation here. We have a black lab who roams the neighborhood, but he always comes home. He knows exactly which neighbors give him treats and which ones leave their garbage outside. Then he comes home and gets sick. But it was all the way it was supposed to be.
Since the day we moved in, not a day has gone by when I haven’t driven into this neighborhood and thought about how lucky I am to be living here. Despite the bears, coyotes, bobcats, attacking owls and utterly ridiculous and stupid HOA, I have always known how fortunate we were to be living here. There are some amazing neighbors on this street who have become family to us (there is also a bitch across the street–steer clear of her! She is a nut case.) I know those great neighbors will stay a part of our lives no matter where we end up. It just won’t be as easy to pop in or wave to them as we are leaving our driveways at the same time or stop to chat when they are outside walking their dogs.
Life didn’t continue the way it was supposed to. I am now a widow supporting 4 children, a still roaming black lab, and a house and yard that are too big for me to afford or manage. I did not win the lottery this past year so that I could keep my home. (That was definitely supposed to happen!) Most people think selling my home is just fantastic. But, it’s not. It’s the smart thing to do–and I haven’t made any smart decisions in about 13 months. I have to be smart for my family–financially–it will be a huge relief. But this is not what is best for me emotionally. I walk around this house and my husband is everywhere (not literally, I know–I’m not that much of a kook). I’ll share a secret I’ve not said out loud to anyone–every once in a while, I think I still see him coming down the hallway. Every once in a while, I actually still smell him. A strong smell that seems to come out of nowhere. This house is where Jake is. It’s where WE are. I don’t want to leave that. I don’t know how I am going to walk out the door and never walk back in again. It feels like I am losing him all over again. I’m devastated.
I am very happy to know that our home is going to a nice family. There is a “secret” path through the woods in the backyard that leads into the neighbor’s yard. Although the neighbor children are grown, they still have a playset in the backyard and they absolutely love seeing our kids coming out of the woods and playing out there.
My 8-year-old planted this tree in a Styrofoam cup and brought it home from preschool. We planted it in the backyard and it has grown right along with the kids. I tried to figure out a way to take the tree with me, but there is no way I could move it without killing it. So I took a picture of the tree. I won’t get to see it continue to grow. But you will. Lucky you.
I wish you all the best, and hope you love and appreciate our home as much as we did. Oh–and if a senior black lab ever shows up at your back door, he answers to the name of Charlie and he is just trying to get home.