The House

I’ve always known it’s not the house that makes the home but the people who live there and the memories they create. Working my way through this downsize is so bittersweet. One minute I’m laughing, and the next, crying. Twenty-one years of memories happened here.

I’ve gotten to the point a few times in the past few weeks where I’m literally turning in circles, looking at all the stuff we’ve accumulated over two decades – this even after my kids’ dad took his things when he left 6 years ago! SO. MUCH. STUFF. And I consider myself pretty organized and in no way a pack rat!

It’s a tricky thing, clearing out your children’s childhood home. Twice now I’ve given away things my daughter has gotten upset about. She recovered quickly, and it was a huge reminder to me to go slow with this, to be sure to ask before I donate or sell. My son has been so incredibly flexible with clearing out his things. This can be challenging with a person with autism, so I have great hope that his adjustment will continue to go smoothly.

When I’m here alone during the day, as I sort and purge, I am amazed at how quickly life goes by. In the past week, I have re-lived not only every bit of my children’s lives but also my own. HOW did I EVER think I was fat and ugly when I was younger? WHY did I spend so much time obsessing over people who couldn’t care less about me? Sheesh. What a waste of time!

It’s a lot of emotional work to do this, and I am going to be so relieved to finish it. I have vowed to myself to leave the traumatic memories of what happened here, here. I’ll only take the good ones with me. This house sheltered my family and provided a backdrop to my children’s lives for a long time. I walk through her every day and thank her for that.

I worry I’ll miss her – her creaky second stair, her sloping floor in my daughter’s room, her shaded backyard – all the things you know about a house when you live there. I’m sure there will be times I’ll wish for her storage and her space.

Time will tell.

For now, though, as I clean her out, I thank this house over and over for being our safe space. And I ask her to be as good to the next family who lives here as she was to us. I know she will be.

She told me so.

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