The Mom Stop column: Laughter and joy await new owners of treasured home
Columns share an author's personal perspective.
This week, we are selling the home where we lived for the last 14 years to friends. This is a letter I wrote to them.
Dear new homeowners,
Welcome to your new home. As you know, leaving this house has not been easy, as I’ve spent more than half of my life - and all of my adulthood - under this roof.
It was this home’s threshold that my husband carried me over after we got married, where we started out our lives together. It was this home where we brought our three babies home from the hospital, where our children took their first steps and said their first words. It’s within these walls where our families gathered around the dining room table for family meals on special occasions, where our kids blew out the candles each year on their birthday cakes.
Every time I look out into the backyard, I can't forget how awful it was putting the wooden playset together - I swear it took me three weeks. But I also can't forget the excitement of my oldest child, who was 3 years old at the time, when she discovered that she finally had a swing of her own.
When I see the front yard, I remember all the happy playdates my kids had with their neighborhood friends, playing with Nerf guns or light sabers, as well as the summers spent playing on a Slip-N-Slide or running through the sprinkler.
When my kids remember their happiest times of childhood, I hope that it is this home that they think of, because it has certainly been filled with a lot of laughter and joy. There were difficult and sad moments, too, but more happy moments than not.
We learned a lot while living here. My late dad taught us a lot about home ownership and how to work with tools, so a lot of the home’s details - from the crown molding to the tile backsplash - are because of him. And so this home reminds me of him, too, and I’m glad there are lasting details that in a way are a piece of our time with him.
It was within these walls that we learned what it meant to be a spouse, where we learned to become parents, where we learned to be adults. We learned to live through difficult times, and to get through them together. We also learned how important family and friends and great neighbors truly are. You are inheriting some of the best neighbors. I pray that they become close friends to you, the way they have become to us.
Leaving this home was like leaving a little piece of our hearts. But I am overjoyed that you are the ones getting it, because I have no doubt that you will continue your family’s story here. You will fill it with love and laughter, and have family meals of your own around the dining room table.
I think of the memories you will make that we did not get to - I can imagine your boys getting ready for a middle school dance, packing up their backpacks and walking down the street to high school, or pulling in the driveway after they first get their driver’s licenses. I hope you’ll make them stand in the front yard for their first day of school and prom photos, the way I had our kids stand for photos on so many important occasions. I can imagine the high school graduations, maybe even you helping your sons pack the car up when they go off to college. (I can even muster out a "War Eagle" to that.)
As much as we love this house and the time we have spent here, I love that it is going to your family, because I know you will take care of it, make happy memories in it, and in a way it will become part of your family’s story the way it has become part of ours. And when the time is right to move on, you will know. I only pray that you will find a loving family such as yourselves to pass it on to, so that others will make happy memories within these walls.
Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.