Monday, July 22, 2013

This Is Your House Now

Dear Homeowners,

Nearly ten years ago when we bought our first home in Arizona I found a note on the kitchen counter the morning we moved in. The note began something like this:

I couldn’t leave my house to you without telling you something about our experience here…

The former homeowner, a recently divorced single mother, described how she and her husband had built the house with big dreams for their life together. But not everything works out how you plan, she wrote, And after my husband left me I was forced to re-think so many of those dreams and draw up plans for new ones… sturdier ones.

Three years after I found that note on my kitchen counter I left it for someone else, along with a note of my own. When we moved to Colorado I discovered that I too couldn’t leave behind the little stucco house without telling the new homeowner something of our life and experience there. And so the tradition continues here in Colorado. So many of our family’s best stories happened during the five and a half years we’ve lived in this house. On Sunday night we walked our girls through every room and allowed them time to share their favorite memories. I worried ahead of time that this might make them too sad, but in fact the opposite happened. We laughed until our sides ached as we reviewed the highlights from every room. How three year old Kate used to sneak out of bed to spit on Madeleine. The time I jumped in the bathtub with girls, fully clothed. The times we were snowed in and made scones. Playing kickball on the open space. And of course the many, many holidays we shared with friends and family. It’s funny how even the grim memories suddenly appear sweet, upon closer inspection.  

I’ve thought a lot about what I want to tell you about our life in this house. I wanted so badly to leave the house looking fresh and pristine. There is nothing so exhilarating as moving into a new space and feeling like you’ve finally come home. As I packed boxes and spackled nail holes I kept imagining how excited you must be to begin your own story in the yellow house with the gray door. We loved this house. This is a sunny, happy house. The top dishwasher rack may slip off if you pull it out too fast (we forgot to order new nubs to put on the end of the rack L, and with the furniture moved I discovered some areas where the wall paint slipped down to the baseboard paint, but despite these surface injuries the house remains beautiful in my eyes. Some of the best moments of my life happened here, and I hope at the end of the day you’ll feel exactly the same way.

By ten o’clock this morning I could have watered the garden and the yard with my tears. It’s so hard to leave a place where we have felt so loved and found so much to love.  But this is your home now, so welcome. We hope it’s everything you dreamed of and truly, we wish you the very best.

Yours Sincerely,

The Gillespie Family 

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