on selling a house that is also a home

The For Sale sign is up, the agents have taken the photographs, and people have been to view.  It is a very strange feeling showing potential buyers around your home.  Seeing it through other people’s eyes, and steeling yourself to comments on every aspect of our taste and style.

A house is a house, it is bricks and mortar and this one is no different. It is the house my daughter mostly grew up in, where the boys became men.  At times it has not been a happy place but now it is a haven from the world outside.  We are moving. and I am reminded of the many other times I have moved house.   From student flat shares to rented cottages, I have lived in many places. This is useful experience because I know I can make a home anywhere, as long as we are all together and we have a table we can sit around and a stove that works to make food.

I am thinking of my very first flat, shared with my friend from work, I was just 18 and really thought the world belonged to me.  We had such fun. There were parties, there were nights sitting around with friends, there was no money, or any of the comforts of home.  I remember waking up in the cold and only having cold water running from the taps, we didn’t really understand immersion heaters. We pinched toilet rolls from work and once had cider for breakfast because we had no milk.

From a small flat to a shared house, my next home was huge fun.  A falling down, end of terrace house, where five of us shared the kitchen, living room and bathroom. I remember painting my bedroom walls green after a mad Sunday drive into North Wales, we went in convoy to play on the beach. Driving though the wooded roads in the early Springtime the trees infected me with hope and wonder, and I tried so hard to capture the colour in my room.  I was one of two girls sharing with three boys who all needed to be taught general housekeeping skills. We had a cleaning rota, a fund for cupboard basics and lots and lots of good times.  People moved out, new people moved in, the dynamics changed, the rota was discarded, everyone bought their own milk. One person took to putting food dye in their pint, so he could tell if anyone was using it. The whole experience was a lesson for life.  In that house I found friends for life, learned who I was, and had the best times.

From the shared house, I moved back home to Mum and Dad briefly, before buying my very first house.  Newly married, full of hope, not knowing for a minute the roller coaster of emotions ahead of us.  This was the house my babies came home to for the first ever time.  The house my sister married her husband from, the house I was in when I heard about the death of my parents. Here I had a next door neighbour, who taught me about difference, she was an elderly Jewish lady, who became my friend. So many memories, so much living had happened there.  The decision to leave was not a difficult one, then, as now, the time was right.  Although the house was wonderful, things were changing and a new start was needed.   I have never regretted moving, but there is a space in my heart for that home, that time and the me I was then.This house used to be in  my dreams.  I often awoke with wet eyes, and a feeling of loss.  The dreams and sadness for my old house stopped after I met my husband and my life once again was on a happy road.

The house we are selling also has many memories, especially of those who have shared it with us.  Friends of my children have been welcome in our house, some have even moved in, stayed a while and come back often to see us.  Boys, at that difficult time in growing up have camped on the floor in bedrooms, on sofas and generally waited to build bridges with Mum and Dad, before returning home.  We have enjoyed our Spanish friends, who each summer come for a month to learn English and infect us with sunshine and laughter.  They also keep in touch, I am English mummy to a couple of gorgeous girls in Madrid.

Our new home, we don’t know where it is yet, will be smaller.  I am fed up of having three flights of stairs and huge rooms to clean. I will still have space for visitors and a kitchen I am comfy in, other than that I have no idea where we will be.  It is an exciting adventure.

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