**I wrote this letter weeks ago, when our house was still full of us. After a series of unexpected turns and events since, our closing date was put on hold until today. It's been a slow, excruciating process selling a home and the stress has in many ways overshadowed the emotions of leaving this house I love so much. That is, until today. I dropped the kids off at daycare and spent one last morning there, sweeping the floors, packing up a few leftover belongings, and readying its surfaces for a new family about to move in. And it wasn't until I drained one last sink load of water, wiped that counter one last time, and stood there in the middle of that empty kitchen that I completely lost it. All by myself with tears running down my cheeks, I moved in and out of each room one last time, saying goodbye and feelings so overwhelmed. The baby's room, our bedroom, that kitchen, and Cruz's upstairs nook. I've been saving this letter until this day, the day I could finally breathe. And there I was, breathless. Nothing can prepare you for the last time you close the door of a house you brought your babies home to.
I've never sold a house before and am not sure if this is proper protocol, but I feel there are some things you must know about this this place you will soon call home. It's weird handing over the keys to something that seems so tangible, yet is so much a part of our identity that it feels as if we are giving you a piece of ourselves and we don't even know you. I personify things until they become real to me and this house has become another family member for the past eight years. We started as strangers, but it didn't take long to realize we would soon be lifelong friends. We started with a makeover, giving him new life and new purpose. Then, we shared our dreams with him, and he stretched and expanded in ways we never imagined, perfectly enveloping us into a safe, nurturing place to plant our seeds and watch them flourish. He opened his doors and provided comfort and love to new babies, to new friends, and to strangers, always showing off his simple and inviting charm. He's seen us at our best and he's seen us at our worst, listening to our cries and keeping our secrets. He knows things, this house, that no one else knows, and has been a part of our story in a way that has impacted who we are in so many ways. Our roots are thick here, entwined under a firm foundation that has been our home for almost eight years and at times, when I really stop and let it sink in that we soon won't sleep here anymore, I feel like I'm abandoning a big part of who I am. But at the same time, I know we're ready for a new story. For bigger spaces to grow, new territory to roam, and new stories to write. We will take so much of this house with us, but its foundation, its firm structure and unique charm wait for you, ready to be just what you need it to be. I pray you find as much joy within its walls that we have and that you plant your own roots beneath its surface, adding to its history in a way only you can.
But since he can't talk, I wanted to do him the honor and share a few of his most prized attributes with you, as well as a few of his limitations. I believe we call that character in the housing world. :)
1. Be sure to spend many summer afternoons in the backyard. The big Maple provides the perfect amount of shade during those hot afternoons, as well as the perfect branch for a tree swing. Its leaves will fall very late, making for a cold rake in November, and its helicopters will fill your driveway, your shoes, and your kitchen floor every spring. But his shade is worth it, we promise.
2. If you are need of hot water fast, use the bathroom sink instead of the kitchen. The kitchen takes a good ten seconds to get hot, which makes for impatient babies who need a bottle or a face washed.
3. Get to know your neighbors, Kathy and Jim. They are the best people and their own kids both live out of state, so they're always looking to adopt local children and grandchildren. Talk baseball with Jim, and do him a favor and shovel his driveway every now and then. His knee is bad and he will return your good deed tenfold, promise.
4. Our neighborhood has the absolute best route for after dinner walks. If you head north up the street and turn left, the entire neighborhood border is approximately one mile. It's the perfect distance to tire out a baby or get some much needed conversation with your spouse. And it's the perfect neighborhood for trick-or-treating.
5. If you've ever considered gardening, there's something in our soil that does wonders for tomatoes. They will grow taller than the deck rail and you will have more than you know what to do with. The next door neighbors love them, and will likely repay you with cilantro or a fresh home brew.
6. We've left a stack of firewood in the garage and I hope you take advantage of the wood-burning fireplace from time to time. Pile blankets on the floor, put on a movie, and pretend you're camping under the stars.
7. There's a creak in the floor board right as you walk out of the door to the baby's room. Keep that in mind as you tip toe your way out in the middle of the night.
8. The bathroom is small, but can fit two adults and two kids snugly, but productively. Trust us, we do it every morning.
9. We hope you love the kitchen as much as we do. Fill that four-shelf pantry with lots of food, the wine rack with lots of blends, and those over-sized drawers with utensils you'll only use once a year. There is full functionality in there and we hope you take advantage of every square inch.
10. Water little imaginations in those bedrooms upstairs. Fill the built-in bookshelf with pages of adventures to explore from the window seat that overlooks the street. It gets a little chilly in the winter months, but makes for the perfect excuse for flannel sheets, twinkly lights, and extra cuddling. I love those rooms and will miss the light, the dormers, and the adventures that always seem to await.
We wish you all the best as you settle into your new digs and hope you find as much joy as we have here. Welcome home.