Thursday, May 31, 2012

Saying Goodbye...

Today I had to say goodbye to something very dear to me. My first home.

This wasn't just any home, this was also my dream home. From the first time my husband and I looked at it, I knew it was the house I had always wanted. It was built in 1892 and through a lot of hard work and creativity my husband and I brought it back to its historic charm.

When we had our twins we knew it was time to move on, so we put it up for sale last year and bought a new home on the banks of the Mississippi River. After it was on the market for a while, we decided to rent the home and for the past year we've been blessed to have the renters become very dear friends.

In March of this year we had to get it back on the market and the first person to view it fell in love and will be the new owner as of 9:00 a.m. on June 1st.

The renters are all moved out and last night Hubby and I went over to the house for the last time, by ourselves. We walked from room to room reliving hundreds of memories. We laughed, we cried and we just held each other, knowing that this chapter of our lives is about to close.

When we moved in we were still newlyweds, fresh out of college, with thousands of hopes and dreams to propel us forward. Not knowing what God had in store for us, who could have guessed what wonders we would experience?

Last night, eight and a half years later, we stood in amazement at seeing the Hand of God weave through our lives, marveling at everything He has brought us through and all the memories we have made.
We stood on the front porch and looked out on the lawn we'd spent hours and hours landscaping. In the living room we talked about bringing our first baby home and setting her on the couch, just staring at her. In the dining room we talked about painting the walls when I was pregnant and hosting many good friends and family for supper. In the kitchen we talked about carving pumpkins with our girls and making meals to feed our growing family. In the den we laughed about Hubby's failed attempt at choosing a paint color (I still contend that it should have been called "Brothel Red"). We ran our hands along the banister, thinking about all the times the girls slid down it.

Upstairs we walked through our bedrooms and I stood for a long time in the girls' room, remembering the nights I would lay with one of them while Hubby held the other on the rocking chair and sang lullabies for the three of us. Through words and silence, we cherished eight years of incredible living.

And then I stood at the window in the boys' bedrooms, staring out at our backyard, remembering all the birthday parties and barbecues we had. I could almost see the girls running through the sprinkler and hear their laughter, like a thousand little bubbles floating to the sky and drifting away on the breeze.

A part of my heart and soul will always be in that home, and a part of that home will forever be in me. I don't regret our decision to sell the house for one moment, but it's still heart wrenching to say goodbye.

26 comments:

  1. This made me teary. Such memories a house can hold. It's a bittersweet feeling to be sure. Such a comfort that we get to bundle up all the people that we love and inside a new set of walls, create new and wonderful memories. Blessings on the next leg of your journey.

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    1. Joanne, bittersweet is the best word to describe my feelings. It's been a tough year carrying two mortgages and selling the house relieves much of the stress, but it's hard to say good bye for the last time. It was a good home.

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  2. I loved reading this! And that home is beautiful--made me think of the home I grew up in. Nice, nice blog post.

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    1. Thank you, Amy. It is a beautiful home and we'll miss it, but, as my hubby reminded me today, we took with us the most important part of that home and it's our family. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I work with the new homeowner. So, excited to move into their new beautiful home. Nice blog post.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Bree. We met Heather today for the first time and we couldn't be happier for her and her new home. She heard we have before and after pictures and that I wrote many articles for Minnesota Moments Magazine about remodeling the home and she's asked for copies of it all. I hope to get them to her soon.

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  4. The beauty is, you can take your memories with you....they aren't sold with the house~ It IS difficult to say goodbye to where they were made, I remember my own childhood home (my dad built it...he used to build houses for a living before going into the Millwork business) ....and each time I go back to my home state, I pass by it at least once to look at it....everytime a memory comes back...I share it with my kids~ They love hearing all the fun things that happened in that house. My childhood home might have new owners, and I am sure that they are making wonderful memories there as well. But I am glad that all those memories are still with me in my heart and in my head so that each time I pass that house, I can bring one back and cherish it~

    Here's to all the new and special memories to be made at your new home!

    Jennifer Bailey

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer. You're absolutely right and Dave reminded me that we're taking with us the most important thing that made that house a home and it's our family.

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  5. I could feel the love you have for your house throughout this post. It's sooo bittersweet moving on, isn't it? But I try to be thankful for all the good memories and remind myself I'll build new ones in our new home.

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    1. Jill, I remember you saying you're moving to a new house. Bittersweet is a perfect word invented for experiences just like this. That chapter of our book has been written and we're moving on to the next, which will be just as special and important in the story of our lives. Good luck with the upcoming move!

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  6. Oh that looks like a beautiful house! I can totally understand your feelings. But I bet you'll make oodles and oodles of new memories in your new home. Yay for carrying memories with us even after saying goodbye!

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    1. Melissa, I think memories are one of the greatest gifts that God has given us - even the bad ones help us learn and grow. I'm so thankful for cameras, too! :) In the year we've been living in our new house we've already made tons of new memories and I'm so happy we made the move. God's blessings have poured down on us and we'll accept all of them!

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  7. It's beautiful and I'm so glad you have many memories to treasure. I teared up for you! :)

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    1. Thank you, Jessica. Part of the reason the house was so special is because I wrote about it in a magazine called Minnesota Moments and it was my first published work. Many, many people in our community had read the articles and some were almost more sad than me when we decided to move. :)

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  8. Beautiful, moving post, Gabrielle! I would have a really hard time if my dad sold the house we grew up in. It doesn't even feel the same now that my mom is gone and my step-mom redecorated (which she totally had a right to do!), but it's still my childhood home.

    Mike and I just bought our first home a few years ago and have already so many awesome memories!

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    1. Thank you, Lindsay. We moved a lot when I was little and my parents didn't own their first house until they were in their 30's, so the longest I'd lived anywhere consecutively was five years. Dave and I owned our old home for almost eight years, the longest I've lived anywhere, so it was especially hard to say goodbye.

      But, I'm looking forward to all the memories we'll make in our new house and I am loving so many things about it already.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this day with me, ladies. We just came back from the closing and I'm still in tears. I met the new owner, a young woman who is very excited to be moving in. I wish her all the joy and happiness in the world. Later, when my tears dry up, I'll be back to chat with each of you.

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  10. Aw honey, I know how you feel. I do. :/

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer. Your words put a smile on my face today.

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  11. You made me cry - I remember so many events at that house - I remember when Gordon and Bunny lived in it while we lived next door. I remember you telling me as a young child that you would live next door to me forever and that you planned on buying that house, which you did, years after we had moved on to another home. My grand-babies were born there, started to crawl, walk, talk, climb up and down the stairway, which was always protected with a child gate and we were forever climbing over it. You and David made it a home with love, joy and laughter. Now you have moved on to another home that you can fill with love, joy and laughter - a place to create more memories and to make a home. I am so happy for you both and for my babies who are a constant joy to me. Thank you for sharing the 3rd Street house with us and for sharing your new home with us.

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    1. My tears were all dried up, Mom! Now look what you made me do...*sniff*

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  12. Gabrielle,
    Ah, the memories ...
    so precious.
    Thank you for sharing them with us today.
    I hope you multiplied your joy and divided your sorrow.

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    1. Thank you for that last line, Beth. All day long I've been focusing on the blessings and abundance God has lavished on our lives and not dwelling on the sadness.

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  13. You'll always have those wonderful memories. May the Lord bless you in your new home.

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    1. Thank you, Susan. He already has begun.

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  14. I had to come over and "meet" you after reading your romance adventure at your husband's family's reunion!
    I, too, thankfully was able to go back to my first childhood home to say goodbye. My mother passed away the month before my sixth birthday. A girl going to the high school came in from the country to stay with us to care for me and cook. My father remarried when I was nine and we moved away. I am thankful for the new memories as I again walked through the house as a young adult. It is no longer there. The owner decided to square out the basement and dug in a far corner. A spring sprung! He had the volunteer fire department come and burn the house down. So glad for the Lord's grace ahead of that time for me to revisit where the little Kathleen lived!

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