After a few false starts, this sign finally went up in the front yard of my childhood home:
I’ve tried to soak up as many last moments in the house as I could, but it was always going to be impossible. We had one last summer, but I wanted another fall…another winter…another new year. I still can’t bear to think that a week from today, the house will belong to someone else.
My parents don’t have a new house yet, so they’re putting most of their stuff in storage this week. I really wanted to spend one more night in my old room before it became someone else’s. And it turns out, Annie really wanted to join me.
I set her up in her sleeping bag, and after reading me a story, she rolled over and (eventually) went to sleep.
While Annie slept beside me, I closed my eyes and remembered the different ways I’d decorated the room through the years. I thought about the dozens of sleepovers I’d had in there, and how perfect it was that the last one was with my daughter.
In the morning, I was reminded how much I’d hated that my window faced east when Annabel woke up the very second the first bits of light were visible. Luckily, my dad is an early riser, so Annie hung out with him while I had some alone time. I wasn’t able to go back to sleep; instead I cried and let myself be sad. At one point I went to write my name on the wall in the closet (like I always do), but I saw that Younger Heather had beaten me to the punch.
When I pulled myself together, we all had breakfast in the backyard.
I put my feet in the pool for the last time.
My brother suggested that we walk through the house and talk about our favorite memories in each room. It was nice to reminisce about everything from old furniture and wallpaper to our grandparents who’d lived with us. Each time we moved onto another room I thought, “This is it…the last time I’ll ever be in this room.”
Before Kyle and I left, we went into our old rooms and just looked out the windows. I took pictures so I could always look at the view. I remembered the way the sun used to reflect off the pool and dance across my bedroom ceiling. I loved that my bestie Tara only lived three houses away, and from my room I could often hear her and her sister Erin when they played in their own backyard.
That house was a wonderful gift from my parents. I dreamed and felt safe there. I brought all my children there, I loved and laughed and celebrated and cried and really lived under that roof. I hope that Mike and I can create a home that Annabel and James feel just as attached to. As sad as it makes me to know we’ll no longer make memories in the house, it means that our house will now be central in my children’s memories. If we are half as happy in our house as we were in my childhood home, we’ll be successful.