Over the past few weeks, Mark and I have been getting our house ready to go on the market. People keep asking us where we are moving and to be honest, we don’t know yet. We have a general idea of the location in which we would prefer but we have not yet found our new home. After 17 years in our current house, we decided it is time to take a Leap of Faith which, if I am being perfectly honest, is both unnerving and exciting at the same time.
I have found myself reminiscing, a lot, over the past few months. Ever since Thomas and Leah were toddlers, I have measured their height, every few months, by making a mark in the door frame and writing their age juxtaposition to said mark. I love those notches in the door frame. When I am carrying a load of folded laundry into their rooms, I walk past the threshold and smile, thankful that my kids are growing and thriving. I re-painted nearly the entire house but saved the dreaded door frames for last. I was stalling, hesitant to cover up the notches that remind me of the fact that my children are growing up really fast. I recently decided that it was time to stop stalling and get the last of the painting completed, which included these door frames. At one time, I contemplated cutting out the door frame to take as a memento but, that would have required replacing the frame with new wood. Ultimately I decided that transferring the marks to something else would be my best bet.
Last Friday, I went to the craft store and bought a few pieces of thin ply-board to make cute little height rulers that the kids can continue to use for many more years to come. As I drove back from the craft store, I started thinking about how I brought my babies home to this sweet little house. I distinctly remember driving home in the car with my newborn baby boy strapped in his car seat, his head smelling like sugar cookies. I even remember the song that was playing on the radio as we pulled up to this house as a family of three. I have made it a tradition to measure the children every 6 months and I have fond memories of plucking them from the tub, freshly bathed, in their bathrobes, hair still wet, standing straight with their backs pressed against the doorframe, excited to see how much they had grown. Once I returned from the craft store, I made my way up the stairs, tears welling up in my eyes. I placed the ply board next to the doorframe and hesitantly transferred the marks denoting each significant milestone. Eventually, I lay the two ply boards side by side and compared Thomas’s growth to Leah’s growth. I chuckled out loud when I realized that Leah is taking after her mom because she is at least two inches taller than her brother was at the same age. She is my little amazon princess.
We rented one of those big storage PODS and started storing all of our extra stuff. We REALLY have a lot of extra stuff. We have made several trips to Goodwill to donate items that we don’t need and the rest is in the POD and so far, I don’t really miss anything that is being stored. At first, my kids were a little anxious about putting some of their extra toys and games into the POD but as time goes by, they seem to forget about it. I have taken this opportunity to teach my children that material things are not important. I have encouraged them to use their imagination and create games. Yesterday, Thomas spent hours outside, creating a make shift bow and arrow set from an old pair of shoe strings, a flimsy stick and some sharp rocks. Leah was pretending to make a fire with sticks and stones (something she saw on one of those survival shows that Thomas and I like to watch). They have both been real troopers. They understand that it is important to keep the house clean and neat until it sells.
We have fresh new carpet throughout. I have explained to my children that they should not wear their shoes inside the house because it is important to keep the carpet clean for the new owners. Okay, maybe it was more like a tiny threat that they would lose technology privileges if they wore their shoes inside but, regardless they heard me loud and clear. I have noticed that when my kids are outside playing and have to come inside for something, they get on their hands and knees and crawl ensuring that the bottoms of their shoes do not touch the carpet. I know what you are thinking. Why don’t your children just take off their shoes to walk through the house? I asked my son this same question and he explained that it would be too complicated to sit down, take off his shoes, walk to the bathroom and then sit down to put his shoes on again. Crawling on his hands and knees takes less time and effort on his part, the carpet stays clean and mom stays happy. Gotta love that boy! Maybe I’ll initiate this same rule at our new house.
The anxiety over leaving this place is beginning to subside. The kids are excited about the prospect of a new home even though we have no idea where that home will be and what it will look like. It is the thought and the dream of this new home that has us all excited. The other day Thomas said that the most important thing was to have all four of us together under one roof. I’m slowly detaching from this place because it is beginning to look different to me. The once light blue walls of my living room are now a neutral off white, covering the old scars of projectile Lego pieces and sticky fingers. The former soiled Berber carpet, that once held remnants of fur from our beloved dog, JJ, is now replaced with a soft beige shag carpet. The old kitchen cabinets previously stained a mid-1990s orangey oak, now shine with a more updated espresso stain. Leah keeps asking if her new house will come with new toys. Thomas hopes the new neighborhood has a pool. We are not picky people. I think most home buyers have a very specific idea in mind when they purchase a home. Perhaps they are set on a certain number of bedrooms, a certain amount of square footage, an updated kitchen, a garage, an open floor plan etc. Although we need more space for our kids as they grow we want much more than that.
I have come to the conclusion that the two most important assets of our new home are feeling safe and belonging to a community. When I talk about my current home I usually tell people that my children feel safe and they know the name of nearly every single person on the street. I realize that we have been quite fortunate to live on a street with so many fantastic neighbors and not being able to see them every day will be very hard for me, for all four of us. Last night, Mark confessed that despite all of the hard work over the past few weeks, he feels excited about this change. We are not sure how long it will take to sell this house and find our next home but we have faith that this leap will help us to embrace change and live more simply. With Martin Luther King Day quickly approaching I thought it would be most appropriate to end this blog post with a few of his wise words.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.