Eight years ago we moved into this home seven days before my daughter's first birthday. She took her first steps in the kitchen--trying to get to the watermelon I balanced on a chair. We wrapped up her first birthday, Mother's Day, and my mother's birthday into one small brunch. In the photo from that day, my stomach is already round--I was four months pregnant with my first son.
Since those first few weeks, we've celebrated so much: countless birthdays, seven Polish Christmas Eve wigilias, class parties, family reunions with grandparents and great-grandparents. The other side of the spectrum crept in, too. My husband and I had some serious arguments, several yelling matches, a small handful of nights where one of us slept somewhere other than our shared bed. We had two dogs that trotted along these hard woods, but now we have just one.
This is our home. But in a few hours the Open House sign will have balloons on it and we'll invite strangers to walk through these memory-filled rooms and imagine making their own lives here. They'll walk into my daughter's room and it might be perfect for their teenage son. The kitchen where Lorelei first walked might get torn down and rebuilt by the end of the year.
As an "Army brat" who moved around, I understand that living in most houses is temporary. You move on to the next one without getting too attached to the one you're in. There's a whole fleet of people on an Army post that keep your house in tip-top shape. My dad didn't even own a toolbox until he got out of the Army--there was always somebody to call who would fix whatever the problem was.
Reflecting on these eight years and the prospect of selling and moving the only home my kids have ever known, I realize that my sentimental attachments to these rooms do exist. But the memories--really, both good and bad--that we've made here have been appreciated.
Having said that, I will still cry like a baby when we drive away in June.