Well.....it's done. The house is sold. We don't have to run over there for more of our belongings, or to make minor repairs or adjustments, or to clean, or to do anything. It's in the name of another owner and starting a new journey under new care. No more house.
As we stood in the kitchen one final time yesterday, I grabbed Brent and choked back tears saying, "I feel like we should pray. For the new owner, for the blessing this house has been to us, and for listening for God's leading in our next steps." So he prayed. And I cried as he prayed about the memories made within those walls. The kitties. The children. The laughter. The intense fellowship. The eight years of everything we had known, breathed, and woke for.
After his "Amen", I opened the door to the basement stairwell and pointed to the jamb that contained all the pencil ticks and dates marked for Little Miss' growth over the years. I said, "Please take a picture of that." and I turned and walked out of the house for the last time.
I headed to the front, my nose still red and splotchy from crying, and took one final snapshot. That word...final. No more.
More memories came flooding in. Those hedges were my project each spring and summer. It was my job to keep the front landscape looking nice. I loved it. A lot of sweat equity went into those plants. That doorstep, that my Dad helped us repair to aesthetic glory, is where I sat - in that same sweatshirt - to snap this picture that encapsulated everything I felt and experienced after losing Harlynn.
Once the tears started, it was hard to get them to stop. Don't get me wrong, we were relieved to be moving and freed from debt and the responsibilities of homeownership. It was a prayer I had been praying for the last five years at least, as I felt we were busting at the seams with Little Miss's arrival. Even still, that was our first house. Our first steps to raising a family. Our first yard. Our first check to a mortgage company instead of a landlord. For eight years, which at this point is 3/4 of our married life, we ate, slept, and breathed within those walls. It was tough to just walk away from it. So final.
At the closing, we were in the room autographing legal-speak papers for all of 10 minutes. We were handed the check, and we were done. So final.
We made the rounds in town paying off our loans and debts. We are debt-free. It hasn't sunk in yet, and I feel like I'm still just waiting for the bills to come in. But they won't. They're done. Paid off. We owe nothing. We owe no one. (Except I owe you your $5 change, Joy! I haven't forgotten!) It's so surreal. All of it.
Yesterday was such an emotionally taxing day and we were so spent. I asked Brent if he would just pick us up something "lazy" for dinner. We had celebratory Chinese food. Nothing says "I'm so done for the day" quite like chicken lo mein and pork won tons.
We put the kids to bed, I picked up a few things around the apartment that don't quite have their place yet, and I got a text from my husband, sitting across the room.
Oh honey. The door jamb!! With Little Miss' growth marks! NOT THE STAIRWELL!! Spousal communication at its finest. This not only represents an era gone by, but it represents we still have a long way to go in being the perfect couple. Praise Jesus anyway.
*Sigh* At least we have this picture to remember our daughter's life in that house... It is a pretty spectacular stairwell. God bless it...
And now, we turn the page. A new chapter is being written. And we patiently wait to read along and see how the story ends.