What does it mean to live in your home? Is it just the floor, the walls, the roof? And when you leave, does it mean that your home is gone? What do you leave behind?
We decided to sell our home of 12 years and downsize. We raised our children there, we adopted a dog and hosted countless friends and family gatherings. We knew great joy and sometimes sorrow; in short, we lived there.
Overall, the house was pretty much the way I imagined it would be the first time I walked into it. I thought it would be loud, sometimes messy, and mostly a busy place. I remember back to that first time and the feeling of comfort I had when I walked through. It was comfort, it was warmth, it was home. How do you leave that? We, of course, had our reasons, but it is still not easy to do.
The kids rode their bikes for the first time on that street, we barbecued in that yard, we argued in every room and made monumental life choices around that dining room table. Each school year, the class pictures changed on the fireplace mantle, and the basement saw dozens of teens hanging out. It gave us peace, knowing the house was full of people. More than anything else, I’ve always strived to give my kids the childhood I would have wanted. Opening our doors to our friends, the friends of our kids, and always family, seemed natural.
Then the kids grew up, and we grew to our next stage. It was time to move on. What we left behind, I hope, is some warm spirit for the next family moving in with a 3 and one-year-old. The hope that those walls, floors, and roof are more than that for them and maybe just a little of what it was for us.
What we took with us, I hope, is that same warmth, peace, family, and life that we had in that house. I know that it stays in us and will continue no matter where we live next.
The kids will move on to college, we will start over, for ourselves this time. Building something new. Not knowing what that is, just yet, is scary but also exciting. The sense of home will somewhat change, but if we stay rooted and bound to each other as a family, no matter where we are, home remains with us.