I've driven past our old exit on the highway many times over the last few months, and I've even ended up within a few blocks of our old house, but I haven't actually been down our street since the day we drove off with the moving truck.
I can't say I've really missed our old place a whole ton--I miss parts of the house (the big windows, the fenced yard, the walking trail around the corner), and I definitely miss some neighbors and friends (who really aren't far away at all, so it's positively shameful that I haven't seen them more since we've moved). But we've been so busy this summer that I've hardly had time to think about it.
But as soon as I turned onto that street, homesickness hit me like a sack of bricks.
( ^ Darcy with my adorable grandma on moving day)
My family moved around a lot when I was young, so I think I learned not to get too attached to places. Leaving homes behind and creating new ones hasn't ever bothered me a whole lot. It was a normal, regular part of my childhood, and it never seemed like a huge deal.
But something was different about leaving that house. It was our first house, and Jeff and I lived there longer than we've ever lived anywhere else (about 3 1/2 years, which isn't a whopping amount of time, but it was our record).
Before that house, we approached every place we lived with the full knowledge that it would be a temporary stay and we'd be leaving it behind. It's hard to get attached to a place when you're counting down the months until you leave. And while we didn't expect to stay in that house for more than 3-5 years, either, we never thought of it as a temporary situation.
We loved that house, excitedly made plans for it, worked to make it better, and treated it--in every way--like a home. I think that's why it hurt me so much to hear occasional negative feedback after showings of the house. A commenter on the blog put it perfectly in saying that to potential buyers it was just another house, but to us, it was a home. Our home.
I have to admit, my eyes leaked a little on the drive down our old street. Even Forrest, who has rarely mentioned the old house since our move, excitedly pointed it out as we drove past, then sadly remarked that he would like to move back home now.
I certainly don't regret selling our house. That's what made it possible for us to get out of debt, and truth be told, I would have sold far more precious things than the house to get that load off our shoulders (non-essential organs, for instance) (I kid) (somewhat). And soon enough we'll be buying another house, one that will hopefully fit even more closely with what we need and want and envision for a more long-term home for our family.
But two thoughts gave me some peace as I sniffled wimpily through my homesick drive down our street. The first was that our old house looks loved. The lawn was neatly trimmed, the rose bush was in full bloom (and looking far healthier than it ever did under my inexpert care), and a cute wreath was placed on the door. We made so many happy memories in that house, and it looked to me like its new owners are loving that place every bit as much as we did, and making memories of their own.
And the second was remembering that we took that dive of a house and made it a place that our family felt happy and safe and truly at home. We're all together, making memories here and now, and well on our way to being able to buy another home that hopefully we'll be spending far longer than 3 1/2 years in. And I'm just feeling so grateful for this sweet family of mine, and that I have the wonderful job of being able to create a home for them to fill with memories of laughter and hugs and great meals and sharing stories and bedtime kisses. And I can do that anywhere.