Saying Goodbye to My Childhood House

19 days remain until my dad sells the house. It didn’t hit me ‘til last night, when I woke up at 2 AM and couldn’t fall back to sleep. I tossed and turned for an hour. And I thought a lot about the house I grew up in (that’s it in the photo, isn’t it pretty?).

Everyone keeps asking how I feel about the house selling. The thing is, I said goodbye to that house 7 years ago when my mom died. I knew then and there that the house would never be the same. Her too-loud laugh and warm hugs had filled the space for 20+ years. Without it, the house felt as hollow as the pumpkins we gutted and carved last night.

My cousin Susi says she wants to see the house before it goes. I keep thinking she’s going to be disappointed. She wants what I want: my mom asking us girls to set the table with her pretty butterfly dishes and all of us gathering round the table to eat baked ziti and laugh at Sally’s ridiculous stories, like when she accidentally walked into the men’s room at the gym, plus an inappropriate remark about how God really knew what he was doing when he made the woman’s body (and not so much when he made the man’s). If Susi goes there, she’ll see what I see: a ghost of a house, the ghost of Sally.

The truth is, the house being gone is a bit of a relief. These days I prefer going to Susan’s house. It has the warmth that my house lacks. And with my dad living there too, it will feel even more homey.

My sadness about the house is also uplifted by the people buying the house. Just like my parents, it’s a young couple who are both teachers. And just as my parents moved in with infant Jordan, they’re moving in with a newborn son. To top it off, the woman’s name is Laura, the same name as my best friend. When my dad told me about them, I immediately knew and told him, “It’s meant to be. Mom wanted you to sell the house.”

Have you had to part with your childhood home? How did you get through it? What did you save, what did you throw away?