This week, I sold my house in Orono, where I lived from 1997 through 2012. It had been on the market since April. It was a relief to sign the papers at the closing and drive away, knowing it is in good hands for the future.
The handoff was made the sweeter by the fact that the new owners, a young couple with two small children, know and love the neighborhood; her parents live just across the street. So it’s good for the house, good for the family and good for the neighborhood. And good for me, to trust in the happy new direction my life is taking and move forward from the past. Letting go of that house was an important milestone I needed to pass.
Still, I found myself getting teary in the car on the way home to Stockton Springs. It’s not surprising that I have mixed feelings about this. The unassuming little house on Hillside Road was where I lived through some of the most intense changes in my life — really positive times as well as some very difficult ones.
This is the home where my family celebrated birthdays and holidays, graduations and job promotions. It’s where I transitioned from a good career in nursing into a much better career in journalism. It’s where my sons navigated their coming-of-age years, graduated from high school and launched into their adult lives. It’s where my marriage finally fell apart, and it’s where I sheltered in the aftermath of the divorce. It’s where my sons and I grieved, with the loving support of our friends and neighbors, when their father died.
We packed a lot of living into this pretty house, and it doesn’t surprise me to feel melancholy at saying goodbye to it. But it’s just a house, after all. Driving home last night, I realized that the memories — happy, sad and otherwise — have already left the building and are right where they belong, in my heart. The house is truly empty, open, waiting and ready to welcome a new family and all the life they will bring through the doors.
Oh, and in the weird world of Facebook, this happened: I posted a few sentences last night about feeling sad after the closing. Many friends responded supportively. And this morning, Facebook sent me a “memory” photo I posted exactly one year ago today, a picture of the beautiful home I now share, so gratefully, with Douglas. It said, “I love where I live.”