Today is moving day. It has been been eight months since we put our house on the market and it has been a rough ride to get to this point. We’ve swapped estate agents, accepted offers, had buyers pull out, and have had complications up and down the chain. In short, it has not been a pleasant experience. I understand now why house selling/buying is considered to be one of the most stressful life experiences, after losing a child or going through a divorce.
To top it off, then came the short turnaround time to get our belongings packed up – we have had only nine days since the exchange of contracts. Before Jules was born I packed up non-essential items, which have been held in storage since December. However, the bulk of packing has happened this last week around our work and childcare. Read here for my top tips on moving house with small children.
In all the frenzy of packing I have tried not to let the emotions of changing our home get to me. After all, we are moving into a lovely, larger house which will hopefully be our nest for many years to come. We aren’t changing area, so a lot of things around us will still be familiar. But on Friday, when I took the last photos off the wall, the sight of the empty picture hooks made me well up with sadness to be saying goodbye to our house.
This has been my and Neil’s home for the past 10 years. For me, it was my first house after several years of renting and sharing apartments in London. Before that I had lived at home with my parents in South Africa. This house has helped us make so many wonderful memories. We’ve enjoyed decorating and landscaping, chilling out at home on weekends, or hosting braais (South African term for barbecue) and parties.
I am most sad to to say goodbye because this is the place we first brought both our babies home to. These walls have witnessed our fumbles and joy of new parenthood, and the chaos of welcoming our second child to an already busy household. It was in this house that Jasper said his first word, took his first step and climbed his first flight of stairs. As he helped me scrape the vinyl stickers off his bedroom wall this past week, it saddened me to think that he might not remember very much about this house as he grows older. Jules, being only three months old, won’t remember anything about it at all.
As I type this, surrounded by a mountain of boxes containing our belongings, I am saying my farewell to our house. Goodbye house, goodbye old friend. There may be times when I’ll drive past just to see you are still there. I’ll know that our precious memories are embedded in your walls, just like all the memories of families who have lived in you before. We will miss you and all your quirks – the squeaky floorboard on the upstairs landing, the funny upside-down light switches and the secret gap behind the kitchen cupboard (where Georgia cat used to hide when she was a kitten). We are moving now old friend, to make a new home to raise our family and to fill with more beautiful memories. We will miss you, goodbye dear friend.