When my husband and I bought our first home, it was, for all intents and purposes, our “starter home.” I waved off family members who warned me that our starter home would probably turn out to be more like a long-term home, scoffing at their predictions. We’d be in the house a couple years, four or five at the most, but certainly not anymore than that.
Eight years later, and we are just now looking to move out of that “starter home.” And the process has been more emotional than I ever would have anticipated.
Our house sold quickly, more quickly than I thought was possible. In some ways, I’m incredibly grateful it moved so quickly because that means I’ll never, ever have to clean that much again. But going from listing to accepting an offer in less than 24 hours left me whirling with so many different kinds of emotions. I’m looking at my house, for the first time, through a stranger’s eyes. Who would be walking the hallways that I have walked? Who would be working in my office? Who would be lounging in our living room? The whole thing feels bizarre and unreal to me.
This should be a happy time, and I have my moments of happiness, but underneath it all, I’m grieving the loss of something I can’t even name.
I can’t name it, because that loss relates to my entire life. I am realizing that’s it not even about the house, it’s about moving past the stage in my life that this house represents—moving from the baby and little toddler stage, to a new stage as a Mom of Big Kids.
And that is so, so hard.
In some ways, our house is the house that I have known the longest. I moved out of my parent’s house at the age of 18 and went right into living on my own. In only three short years, I would become a parent myself, teetering somewhere between childhood and adulthood. Recently, when I was confessing to my husband that I felt a little foolish for grieving the loss of our home so much, he reminded me that it’s been much more than just a house to me. It’s been the place where I truly felt at home for the first time in my life.
And that’s not something that you just walk way from easily.
I’ve been beating myself up a bit, wondering why on earth I am struggling so much. People move all the time! What is my problem?
But it has been a big deal to me. I feel like I’m mourning, because in a lot of ways, I really am.
I’m mourning the loss of the early stage of motherhood, the one I truly thought would never end, the one everyone tried to warn me would fly by so quickly.
I’m mourning the loss of my twenties, not that I necessarily would have spent them any other way than having kids, but none the less, those years are gone.
And I’m mourning the loss of the “little kid” stage. My kids are getting older by the minute and at 3, 5, 7, and 9, my life is so, so different than it was even a year ago. This phase feels foreign, like that awkward postpartum stage when none of your clothes fit and you don’t quite recognize your own body.
I know I’ll get there, just like my body adjusted after having babies, though I’ll never be quite the same person I was before. I know that with time, I’ll adjust to the new house and new life and new stage of motherhood.
But right now?
Right now, I’m just going to be okay with not being okay as we say goodbye to this house that represents so much more than just four walls.
In the meantime, does anyone have any advice for me in how to move on to this next stage of life?