I knew one day my childhood home would be for sale despite my heart’s denial. But here we are. Sign staked in the ground. Home beautifully staged. Empty drawers and closets. Open house will soon begin.
This home provided stability, safety and a whole lot of love and grace. Of course, it’s the people who created that (thanks Mom and Dad!) not the actual space, but it was my haven.
If these walls could talk, they would tell stories of hide-and-seek, reckless tree climbing and ravine explorations, adolescent emotions, teenage laughter, friends, embarking adulthood and decisions that would ultimately shape my future. They hold my secrets of silent tears, heartbreak, insecurities and fears. They tell my joys, hopes and dreams.
The open house begins and people filter through. Today I’m my realtor husband’s assistant on a home I know a thing or two about. Families. Couples. Singles. Some I share with and others I leave to their own thoughts.
It’s 3:00pm. The last guests exit. I start putting the cookies and fruit away when I hear a knock at the door.
“Is it too late?” the lady asks.
“Of course not. Come on in,” I reply.
“Okay, let me get my family from the car.”
She returns with her husband and two children ages five and seven. For the next hour the house is filled with energy, laughter and NOISE.
I’m sucked into a vacuum of time. My brother and I were about the same ages when we moved here 35 years ago. I rest against a wall and just watch with a smile, imagining this was probably what my parents witnessed. The brothers find hiding spots, play chase and climb the ramp to the backyard, disappearing into the woods and trees before emerging with plans.
“This is where we can put our dump trucks!” they tell their mom.
She quietly smiles and apologizes. I tell her this is good for my heart.
The boys throw off their boots and return to the house.
“I only found three hide-and-seek spots,” the older brother says.
“Oh, there’s plenty more. Come here,” I say quietly to him while his brother is off adventuring elsewhere. “I’ll show you a secret one.”
He follows me to the back of the fireplace where the wood is stored. I slide open the small door and he goes slightly ballistic with excitement.
“Oh my goodness! This is amazing!” he exclaims while meandering his tiny frame into a small spot.
I laugh and joy covers over me. Joy comes in all shapes and forms and in the most unlikely way knocks your socks off and fills your heart with a timeless gratitude for what was, what is and will be.
This home is ready for the next chapter for another family while I get to embrace having my parents live near me for the first time in 22 years.
The family leaves and the house silences but even in the emptiness my heart is full.