There we sat three days before Thanksgiving, a huge sign in our front yard, announcing to the world the house we are living in is for sale and we’re looking to get out of dodge.
It’s a surreal feeling, sleeping in a house that one day soon may no longer be yours. You lay awake thinking of the memories made within those walls and how the building meant something to you but might not mean anything to anyone else and wondering if you will be okay with people scoffing at the way you didn’t keep up with maintaining your house the way you might should have.
You wish you’d painted the bathroom wall before the real estate agent came in, cellphone in hand to upload photos to the internet of where you lived for the past 16 years and where you still live, for the entire neighborhood to judge you by.
Someone we know recently put their house up for sale sale and because the person no longer speaks to us, an acquaintance thought it was okay to tell us “a friend went to the open house and said the house looks so bad inside. It’s sad.” The house doesn’t look bad inside. I’ve seen the photos and been in there, though not in a long time.
It’s amazing how lives get picked over based on the condition of a building and how judgments are made based on ripped wallpaper in a kitchen.
Money was something we had years ago so we added a new roof and a fence and new, laminate floors then. But since then we haven’t painted inside or scrubbed the heckola out of the tub like we should have. Now we are left with self-imposed guilt and maybe a little personal disgust at ourselves for not being on top of such things.
But . . . life happens.
Chronic illness sets in, stress happens, friendships are lost, family members pass away and eventually you don’t notice the flaws in the house because you stare at it every day and it’s just your house, so much less important than the gnawing worry in your gut that you’re somehow ruining your children or will never have real, meaningful friendships again.
So here we sit in this house, a sign in our front yard, photos live online and the soul of the house left open for others to judge and shake their heads at. It feels almost cruel, leaving what has sheltered us – our children and our pets for so long behind but yet we hope that when we do some other family will come and find within its walls the same comfort, the same shelter, the same memories to be made.
Maybe it will all come full circle – a young couple standing on the porch, like my husband and I did so long ago, unsure what the future would hold but hoping for the best. And maybe a baby will be added like it was for us and life will really begin and then one day, they’ll know that it’s time to move on — more space needed, a new job started — and step away like we did, only to start the cycle all over again when the house wraps its arms around another family.