Two Teens And Their Mama: Selling His Childhood

Monday, October 13, 2014

Selling His Childhood


My mother in law passed away in February after a long illness, and since then we have been taking care of all the little details to close out her estate.

The final thing to do was to sell her home.  She hadn't lived there since 2010, when we had to move her out because she couldn't take care of herself anymore.  Rather than sell it at that time, we rented the house to provide her with a steady stream of income.

Last Monday my husband signed the closing papers on the sale.  When he got home, I expected him to be happy that this last task was finally done.  But he looked at me sadly and said, "I feel like I just sold my childhood".

Of course....why didn't I realize this sooner?  

This was the place my husband came home to when he was born 47 years ago.  There was nothing fancy about it, but it was a good, sturdy little house.  My mother in law took immaculate care of it, and with great pride she paid it off before she retired.

He spent his entire childhood there - walking to school, only a few blocks away.  Playing kick the can out front, and hide and go seek in the huge backyard.  Sneaking out of his bedroom window during high school.  Working on his Camaro in the driveway.

Until he left for college, my husband had never lived anywhere else.  Once we graduated and got married, we still lived close by, and there were countless birthday parties, holidays and family celebrations there.  This house holds thousands of memories.

It's always hard to sell a home and move on, but when that home has been part of your life for 47 years, it's especially difficult.  Especially when that place is the last physical string tying you to your parents.

I hugged him and told him that he did not sell his childhood.  He may have sold the walls that he grew up in, but the memories will never be gone.  The playing, the working, the growing there - will always live on in his heart and mind.

The house was sold to a young family with three children.  I like to think that my husband's old home is smiling, happy to have a new family living inside, ready to start fresh and make more memories.

When he feels ready, I'm sure we will drive by, just to check on it.  And then we'll continue on our way, making new memories.  But we'll never forget the old.

30 comments:

  1. You have a wonderful perspective on the situation. I'm sure it must be hard on your husband just like it was hard for me when we were living our home in Tampa to come to Croatia. But with time it passes, and you realize memories are what stays with you forever.

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    1. Thank you. I know it will get easier as time goes on.

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  2. Yes it is hard but it went to a good home who will enjoy it as much as your husband. Luckily he let go. I know others who won't sell or drag out the process that the home becomes run down.

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    1. We considered keeping the house as a rental, but my husband felt he needed the closure of selling it. I think it was a good decision too.

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  3. We just sold my mom's house. I didn't grow up there, but my daughter did and it's been painful. But no one can take the memories from us.

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    1. So true - the memories are always there.

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  4. awww, I feel sad for him but you're right, the house is happy to get another family to share so many memories with. Hold on to that thought, and hopefully it will make it a little easier for him.

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    1. We were so glad that a family with children bought it - it definitely made him feel better.

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  5. Change is harder for some. He is lucky he has the stability of your love and support just as you are lucky to have the stability of his love and support. Losing a parent makes you face your own mortality.

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  6. I can understand how your husband feels, Lana. But I also agree with you that memories are ours to keep forever, and that it's always great to have the future to look forward to for even more beautiful memories to make. It's good that your MIL took care of things (paying off the home) even before she got ill. That's responsible and truly admirable, I believe. I'm sure taking care of such practical things made it 'easier' somehow for the whole family. Thanks for sharing this and maybe on some future post, when your husband drives by the house, there will really be a happy family included in the front lawn photo :-)

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    1. My mother in law was an amazing woman - she took care of five children while working full time, with very little help. I always looked up to her!

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  7. You made me cry. I still occasionally drive past my childhood home. The tiny trees my Mom planted are gi-normous now. The colour has changed from blue to grey. But it still looks the same. There's the front step where I posed with Daddy all those years ago. There's the wide front porch where Mom and us kids played games and smiled for yet another camera. There's a glimpse of that huge backyard, the location of so many adventures. Some happy. Some painful. You are right. The walls no longer belong to me. But the memories do! Lovely post!

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    1. Well, your comment made me cry, so now we're even!

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  8. This just broke my heart. I feel like I am just a few awful steps behind him although we sold our family home a few years ago and it devastated me. Not only did we sell mom's home where I grew up but also my home where I raised my children for 17 years. It was so hard that I was just recently able to drive past them. Something that I had been avoiding in the three years we have lived in South Carolina. You are right building, plaster, walls that is it. Then I think of the wall where I measured the kids every year on their birthdays. Oh hell, I am going to cry again!!! Just be there for him, if he is as raw as I am sometimes he needs you even though he may not know how to ask. He's lucky he has such a great wife!

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    1. Thanks Rena. I wish I would have realized sooner that this would be so hard for him, but we've been so busy with all the details.

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  9. Aww.. you said the best thing you could have said to him.
    It's sad, but the memories are kept safe in minds and photos.

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    1. Absolutely. I know it will get easier with time too.

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  10. What an absolutely moving and beautiful post. This sums up so much of what makes a house a home.
    I have said goodbye to many houses - my parents and my own. I've left a piece of my heart in a few of them. But the memories have stayed with me.
    You are right, your husband did not sell his childhood - but I understand what he means.
    In writing this, you have given your husband the wonderful gift of memories put into words.

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    1. Thank you Susan. My parents sold the home I had lived in since sixth grade, and it was also difficult - but I think this was harder because she's gone too.

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  11. This is the hard part of home ownership since the house become part of your life. I feel that when I step into our 1846 house and wonder how many families grew up there. I offer tours to older adult who come up for drives to grandma's house (only to find out she passed in her bedroom; which is now my eatin kitchen area) I hope you husband feels better soon and the thought of another generation of children will walk to school, just s he did, and make new memories in his old home.

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    1. There must be so much history in your home! It's so nice that you let previous owners have a look!

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  12. Bless his heart. I know that must have been so difficult for him. Letting go of the ones we love and the things and places that hold our memories is hard. I can't help but to think a little of the new family. How wonderful for the new family to have bought a home with so much love within its walls and so many beautiful memories.

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    1. I'm happy there are children living in the house again!

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  13. That must have been really hard. Well loved homes hold so many memories. I hope the new family will love it there too!

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  14. I love that the house will now be host to 3 young people. And I'm glad your husband has you to walk through his loss with. Beautiful.

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  15. OH! Tear..... I so understand where he is coming from with those feelings. As much as I love our home, and it is where we brought both our girls to, I have told them once they fly we will too. Taxes are killing us and there are no mountains or oceans here! They understand, I hope they won't be to mad with us!

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    1. We've told our boys the exact same thing - once they move out, we are too - this house is too big for two of us!

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