You can have the cabinets, but we’re taking The Love with us.

As I was swinging Gabby in the swing that Tony hung from the tree in the front yard, I started to think about how much I’m going to miss that tree.
So many happy memories revolve around that tree.
Sitting under the cool shade it provided while eating ice cream on warm, Sunday afternoons.
Playing hide and seek with my kids.
Blowing bubbles with my daughter.
Raking up leaves into big piles so the kids could jump into them.
Watching my kids have fun with water in the summer time.
Sitting underneath it while watching my boys shoot hoops.
SO many wonderful memories have been made around that big, beautiful tree.
I started to cry.
I’ve cried a lot since finding out we’d have to move from this house and it has nothing to do with the house itself and everything to do with the memories that have been made inside of these walls.
Ethan’s just as upset as I am, if not more so, because of the very same reasons. This morning when he was finished brushing his teeth as he was getting ready for school, he came out of the bathroom with tears in his eyes.
“This is the last time I’ll brush my teeth before school in this bathroom, Mom.”
And then he broke down and sobbed like a baby.
I hugged him as tight as I could and I told him that I know how he feels.
Because I feel the same way.
I didn’t realize how deeply it would hurt to tear the kid’s bedrooms apart. With each picture that I took off of the wall, a little piece of my heart was yanked from my chest because someone else is going to be sleeping in their rooms and the thought of that makes me so sick that I could puke.
When I see my youngest son so upset about not living here anymore, when he cries because he’s “never going to sleep in his bedroom ever again” I am reminded of when my Grandparents sold their house and how devastated that I was.
I loved my Grandparents house. It was just down the street from my mom’s house and it was like a second home to me. I spent almost every weekend there. It’s funny, all of these years later, I still can close my eyes and remember exactly how that house looked, and how it smelled and how happy I felt when I was there.
I was in high school when they decided to sell it. I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t understand the idea of NEVER being able to go there again. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that I’d never be able to swim in her pool again, that I’d never be able to bake with my Grandma in that kitchen, that I’d never sit on the porch swing ever again.
Oh, and I couldn’t bear the thought of some stranger living in that house. I cried for days.
The day that my Grandparents moved out was one of the saddest days of my life.
I was there, helping them pack and clean and I cried the entire time.
I remember sitting on the coach and picking up a piece of paper and a pen. I began to write a letter to the new owners of the house.
“I love this house so much, I’ve had so many great memories here, please, take very good care of it because I love it so much and am so sad that I can’t ever spend the night here again.”
I taped notes like that all over the house. It helped me so much to write my feelings out and to tell the people who would be moving in how deeply I loved that house.
I feel compelled to do the same thing here, before we leave for good tomorrow.
I know this house is old and ugly, trust me, I’ve hated it for a long time, but this is the place where we’ve raised our family for the past 10 years. When we moved in, our first born son was only 4 years old and I was pregnant with our second son.
You see that window right there in the living room? When we first moved in there, my little 4 year old would stand there, barely able to see out and he’d watch the neighbor kids ride their bikes. He wanted so badly to play with them, but he was so little, I was afraid he’d not fit in with the kids.
But he did and one of those little boys, Mikey, became his very best friend and every single day, they sit on that wall right there and talk.
Are you a Laker fan? I hope so, because I sure would hate to know that you’re going to paint over that purple and gold stripe that my husband spent hours on. That was Ethan’s room. He loved that room more than he loves the Lakers, and that’s a whole damn lot. I spent a lot of nights sitting at the foot of his bed right there, rubbing his little head to feet to help him fall asleep when he was having a bad dream. Sometimes, I’d fall asleep there next to him and in the morning, he’d wake up and thank me for making him feel safe.
That purple room was our daughter’s room. We spent so much time and money on that room, because we wanted it to be perfect for our unexpected joy. I imagine you’re going to tear the pretty border off of the walls. A lot of work went into putting that border up. My husband would wet it and I’d follow behind him with a blow dryer to make sure it dried quick and stuck to the wall just the way it was supposed to. We would talk about our little girl and what we thought she’d look like and how we still couldn’t believe we were having a daughter seven years after we swore we were done having kids. My little girl loved that room so much and when we had taken all of her furniture out, she cried so hard and said “But I NEED my dresser, daddy, please! Put it back! I need it so bad.” And I cried, and she cried, because no matter how many times I tried telling her that we were moving to a new house, she just didn’t understand.
The master bedroom, that was our room. Our daughter was conceived in that room, on the floor, in front of the bathroom.
Oh, that bathroom. We used to play hide and seek with our boys when they were little and we’d always hide in the tub in there. It was so funny, because they’d get so freaked out when they couldn’t find us, and my oldest son would beg his little brother to “go look first” because he was too scared. Me and my husband would laugh so hard, because it was cute. I guess you had to be there.
There was a lot of love in this house. So much love that as I’m writing this letter, I feel as though my heart might explode because MY GOD, there’s so much love in this house and I hope you feel it and I hope you appreciate just how many wonderful, amazing, sometimes heartbreaking, but mostly beautiful memories were made in this house.
What matters.

54 thoughts on “You can have the cabinets, but we’re taking The Love with us.

  1. Helen

    I know everything you are feeling. How lucky we are that we have made homes out of other peoples’ houses. I can’t imagine how you feel having lived so long in your home and my kids are like little gypsies and could care less about leaving again, my heart is crying for yours Y, I hope your new home is amazing. I like the idea of your leaving notes, send a special one to that heartless pig of a landlord too.

  2. Lisa O

    Oh my God Y – I am sobbing. The LOVE came through loud and clear in your post. I’m thinking of you and praying for you right now.

  3. CharmingDriver

    Dude. I know. My sister and I were talking (ok, bitching really) about how we felt cheated out of ”one last night” in our homes before Katrina (I was on the road and came home right before it hit) took them away.
    Now that we (my sister and I) have moved to WA and our parents are coming soon, it was really, really hard leaving to make the trip here. I kept thinking ”this is the last night I will spend in this house” and things like that; they are selling their house and moving to WA this summer and I’m relieved in a way that I’m already gone because I cannot stand the thought of ”other people” living there if I were nearby (my parents bought the house brand new 30+ years ago). That’s my parents house, you know? No interlopers! Or um, new owners, heh.
    Sigh. It’s hard, babe. I know. But it will get better. It MUST get better, right? RIGHT!

  4. nila

    My heart is breaking for you. Especially for Ethan. I have my own Ethan and imagine him having the same reaction. I sobbed reading about the boys and their memories. Hang in there, and know that you are “home” to your family, and wherever you are, when you’re together, you’re home. The way you guys are in that picture is beautiful.

  5. Empie

    Okay that is it, I am crying just reading your post, of all the post you have ever put up, this is the one, you have tugged at my heart strings, I officially hate your Dicklord, and love you guys to death. Hugs, and prayers that the transition is smooth…..You couldn’t have written it anymore beautiful.

  6. mel

    Coming out of lurking to say…I am so sorry. So sorry. It is so hard to let go…especially when it wasn’t your choice.
    That was so beautiful.

  7. justme

    Oh Y, I know just what you are going through. We went through it two years ago. What a beautiful letter. Big hugs to you and your family.

  8. Michelle

    That has to honestly be one of those most beautiful, honest and heartfelt letters that I have read in a long time. If I were moving into a new home and found a letter like that from the previous owner, I would be sad for the owner’s loss but happy that I was moving into a home that housed such love and happiness for so many years.
    You should tape it on the bathroom mirror where the new residents will see it.
    Not that it will help any but we moved out of our house when my youngest had just turned 3. Our new house has since been filled with many new memories and laughs and giggles and tears… it helps that you have a little one to help make new and wonderful memories. Good luck with everything.

  9. kate.d.

    Y, best of luck to you and your family as you make this incredibly difficult change in your lives. place is important, and structures do take on meaning for us – they become symbols for everything that is ineffable, you know? my grandmother moved out of my grandparents house soon after my grandfather died (this, a year after two uncles died as well), and there was then this extra layer of loss – moving her out of that house was moving out of life as it used to be.
    the hardest part was that my aunt eventually lived about five minutes away from the old house, so sometimes, when we couldn’t resist the temptation, we would drive by that house on the big corner lot on our way to thanksgiving.
    the year when they cut down the front hedges and repainted the house, i felt an inchoate and totally irrational anger the likes of which i can’t compare to anything else. i mean, it was their right – it was their house now – but still.
    moral of the story: avoid going back, if you can!

  10. Marmite Breath

    Aw, Y. That was beautiful.
    I would say though, don’t tape it up! Mail it to them a couple of days after you know they’ve moved in. I think that would stop their movers, or anyone else from messing with it. You want them to read it, after all.
    Love to ya.

  11. The Other Laurie

    This made me so sad. You should print this out and paste it all over the entire house.
    I’ve never been in your home but after reading that, I can almost smell the baking and hear the laughing and see the fun.
    Thanks. And good luck, mama.

  12. Susan

    Y, I’m so sorry. You are destined, though, to have that many memories and that much love in any house you ever live in! Take comfort in that. :)
    That’s how I feel, too – that even though this house isn’t the best (we do own it), I would miss it so much because of the memories and the love shared here.
    Do you know what a blessing that is? We had love in my house growing up (heaps from my mom especially), but lots of sad, depressing times as well (probably more than good times). I am 39 and still have nightmares about it.
    I thank God that, no matter where we live, my kids will always have a secure, loving, FUN family to grow up with. You can’t put a price tag on that.

  13. Beth

    What a beautiful letter. *sigh* I totally get how hard it is to leave a place where you’ve created so many memories, and yet I know you will bring all that love with you wherever you go. *hug*

  14. Kay

    It is very natural to feel this way. When my family home was sold that I grew up in I was depressed, then I finally realized the memories and pictures stay with you, not the 4 walls.
    If I was the buyer of the house, I think I would be guilted to death by that letter! LOL I know I wouldn’t want to know so much about $$ and stuff put into it. Would make me feel horrible taking it down but everyone has to make their house their own.
    Best of luck to you all!

  15. Stacie

    Totally bawling over here! That was beautiful. I went through the same thing when we moved from our last home to our present home. You will always have the memories but it doesn’t make it any easier. I still drive by our old home sometimes…I have to fight the urge to stop and ask them if I can see my children’s old room. Ok, I’m crying again…

  16. Christine

    That was beautiful, The love will follow you and your family no matter where you go. And the memories will stay with you forever…no one can take them away from you.

  17. Abby

    Aww..both of my kids were conceived on the floor, too! Seriously. One on the basement floor in my old house..and the other on the floor of my mother in law’s bathroom. I promised to never have sex on the floor again because of that. Hahaha.

  18. norm

    Oh yes. I totally understand, and have felt this way.
    We own this house, now (well, us a bit, and the bank), and I never want to leave. I want these memories to stay. Of course, that will just make it harder.

  19. AA

    OMG. A beautiful family and a great post.
    If I bought that house I would like to know that it was filled with love. Me… I’d even have to learn to live with the purple and gold stripe. You are leaving great karma behind.
    Your kids will love another home too. It is just that this is all they know.
    Sex on the floor- a necessity with squeaky beds!

  20. Tonya

    You ARE going to find a house you LOVE (or even kind of like) and wonder why it took you 10 years to do it!
    Best of luck to you and your family. : )

  21. Beverly

    So sad about saying goodbye to your house, but “The Love” is all that matter, and you’ll have that with you forever!
    Best of luck with the new house search.

  22. Sadie

    If I found that letter when I moved into the house, I would definitely leave the Laker stripe. ((hug))
    I bought my house last year from a family with three children. I don’t have any kids. But on the inside of a closet door they had marked each of their kids’ heights every year, with their names, and I will never repaint over it. It makes me smile.

  23. Mom101

    You’re right – no one can take the love and no one can take the memories. And now you’ll have new homes in which to make new memories to layer onto the other ones. They won’t be any less memorable or meaningful.

  24. Brandi

    You just broke my heart a little. Like you said, they can keep the cabinets, but no one can ever take your precious memories.
    (((Big, squeeze the air out of you, hugs)))

  25. Lori

    Make me cry, why don’t you? I hope the move went smoothly and you’ll update us again soon. That *&$#@ of a landlord cannot take your memories from you. On a positive note, you no longer have to wake up to those horrible cabinets!
    Love the idea of a letter to the new owners. I hope they feel the love you and your family created there.

  26. teachbroeck

    You should print that and frame it with some pics of the tree/house…..beautiful!!!! (maybe take out the conceive part for the sake of your parents!)

  27. Tali

    Incredibly well written post. Have seen a lot of feedback recently on the trials of parenthood and growing older. I work with a site for babysitting, . Wonderful to have someone express so well thoughts that so many share.

  28. Her Bad Mother

    It’s possible to love trees. And houses. And to love them all the more for their ugliness, because their ugliness was transformed by the beauty of whatever memories you made in, on or around them.

  29. Cass

    What a beautiful letter. I hope you are soon making beautiful memories in a new place. And don’t forget to clear your cookies 😉

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