The things that make a house a home cannot be seen; they can only be felt. I've long understood the difference between a house and a home. And in my industry, there are pros and cons to that. I've appraised many foreclosures that were some one's beloved home. And I've been privileged to help families pick the perfect house to make their own.
So far, dealing with my own real estate has been ok. But it's probably been easier because I've bought more houses than I've sold on a personal level.
Enter my grandma's house.
I've done so well with it all so far. I really have. I go over there without her in it and it's just not the same. It's just a house without people in it. Grandma is happy and comfortable in her new home. She said she no longer needs the old house, so sell it. She is remarkably level headed with such decisions!
Today the hubster and I took two vehicles over to the house. We were moving some stuff out and I had to stay later than him. I tell ya, driving by yourself . . in the rain . . for what I knew will be one of the last times I'd be going to the house . . . that can be hard.
I thought of the times we'd go over there when I was a kid and my mom would give my grandma a perm. I'd sit there and color. I loved grandma's coloring books, even those somehow seemed more special at grandma's house. Whenever we left, grandma would give us a treat bag for the ride home. There were usually always Smarties in there - still easily one of my favorite candies!
All the Christmases with everyone crammed in to that living room . . looking around the house now, it doesn't seem possible that we all fit! I remember the year my cousin and I got some plastic jewelry with clip on earrings. We went in the bathroom to see how glamorous we looked! Somewhere between 20 and 30 people were in that house and we took up the only bathroom to admire our new jewelry :) No one complained, they all oo'd and aah'd over our new look!
Summer get togethers with my uncles playing horseshoes in the backyard, bridal showers, baby showers, random visits, get togethers when my aunt, uncle, and cousins were in from New York, and so many memories are in that house. I can still see my grandpa sitting in his chair in the corner worrying that we'd get the wrapping paper caught under the electric heaters and start a fire. But then, when he thought no one was looking, he'd throw a wrapping paper ball at someone too.
I think this morning was the first time I cried over the house. The sad part isn't simply that the house is selling. The new family is very excited to make the house their home now too. And that is a good thing.
The sad part is turning the page on that chapter. The memories don't live in the house. The memories live in me. I walked around the house today. It's not the same when it is empty. Saying goodbye to an empty house won't be saying goodbye to the memories, not at all.
Tonight I am thankful for a little white house that for my 36 years has a been a place where I've been welcomed and loved and made to feel at home. But I am even more thankful that it wasn't the house that did those things. It was the man and woman who lived there who made that place special. One is in heaven, I'm sure sitting very proud of how practical we are all being with decisions right now. And one is most likely in her bed, in her new home with my parents, where she is welcomed, and loved, and made to feel at home - just like she did for all who walked thru that door of her little white house for the past 36+ years.