Tears and Smiles: Saying Goodbye to Our 1st Home

We recently had to say goodbye to a member of our family. It was a bitter-sweet parting, and true to form, when awaiting the passing of a loved one---despite knowing the end was near, when it finally happened, it was a shock to the spirit.


Gratefully, I speak not of a human loved one. On the contrary, I speak of a vinyl-sided one--namely, our first home. 

Over the years, our fixer-upper, a cozy Cape Cod, had seen many transformations.  Beginning as a bachelor pad, it was the place mine and my husband's life journey together began. And while unusually well-kept for a man’s home, I still cringed at the mismatched curtains and utilitarian kitchen. One day, I told myself. One day you’ll be able to decorate it as you wish.

Eventually, we got married and had children. Many of them.

With each new child came more renovations, and with every renovation, (and every new child) our house became more and more of a home. In our Cape, we experienced many memorable “firsts.” It was the place we welcomed each of our babies home from the hospital, watched with baited breath as they took their first steps, and awaited magical visits from the tooth fairy.

But eventually, we came to a realization: our ever-growing family had grown too large for our barely 1,000 square-foot love nest. So, when baby number four was on the way, we began constructing a home large enough for our family. Painstaking measures were taken to ensure all our family’s needs would be met with such a dream home, including two laundry rooms, a laundry chute, and a play room to house the toy store that inhabited our living space.

With the inevitable construction delays and cost-overruns, it seemed that moving day would never come. Our tiny cape now resembling Jan Brett’s The Mitten, with children and “things” bursting at the seams, I yearned for more space.

Patience, a small voice whispered.

We settled on renting our outgrown Cape while the market was soft, and, after many months of waiting, finally moved into our dream home. It was all we had wished for. 

But something strange happened.

Each time I drove through our old neighborhood, my heart flooded with emotion. I wanted our old home back. It sat, on the familiar tree-lined street, its windows sagging like the forlorn eyes of an abandoned puppy. Our cozy cape was where it all began. I found myself wiping away unbidden tears.

With time, my sadness faded, as we began making memories in our new digs and became comfortable with our new surroundings. And then, out of nowhere, a call came from our realtor. Someone wanted to buy our Cape.

An answer to our prayers. Selling would free us from the hassle of maintaining two homes and provide some padding to our dwindling bank account. It was a rapid sale and in less than a month, we found ourselves turning over the keys to the new owners.

And again, sadness.

While it had initially been hard leaving behind what was now a member of our family, it had been tempered by the fact that we still owned it. But now, all that had changed.

Our journey together had finally come to an end and it was time to say goodbye. I drove the familiar route one last time to pay my respects. Sitting in the driveway, I said a quiet thank you, recalling the many wonderful memories we’d experienced while in its care. Glancing up at the facade one last time, a glint in the front window was my sign. My old friend winked, assuring me he was ready for his new journey. A smile touched my lips and my heart spoke of what I’d really known all along.

I was ready, too.

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