Saying Goodbye

I’m not a fan of house-flipping shows. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve sat through many of them and am curious what the end results look like. However, what I don’t like is the idea of a home as just a building and that the memories captured inside can be as easily demolished as the drywall.

I just sold my house and it was a bittersweet experience. It was the home Katie and I lived in together where we planned for and received our son in, and said hello and goodbye to beloved animals in. I resided there for 11 years and hesitantly made the decision to move to a different part of Atlanta because of traffic and the comfort of Mr. Carter.

It was a tough decision for me to make since I had grown accustomed to the house and neighborhood. But as a good parent, you learn to put your child’s needs above your own and find a way toward peace with the decisions you make.

On the final day as I was moving the last of my things, Katie’s mother came by with Mr. Carter and gave me a surprise. She had interviewed my son about the house and based on his answers had created a letter to the house, that Mr. Carter and I were to place in the attic beneath the boards. We were to read the letter aloud as a goodbye and ceremoniously place it before leaving the house for the last time.

Here is what the letter said:

“You were the first home I ever lived in, in my life! I think you were a very pretty house. Thank you for keeping me safe, house. Being strong when there was a storm! You never let a bad person come to my house for any reason! Your windows were very sunny and bright when I got up every morning. You made my Mama and Mommy very happy. Now you are getting a little old and we have to move to be closer to my school. I will never forget you and will love you forever for being my first home! I wish you happy memories and happy boys and girls just like me in the future! Oh yes, I played and learned about my best friend Thomas. Your floors always let me play on them and I never got a splinter or anything! Thank you to the trees and plants and all the good fun times I played with Gigi and Sully, Nikko and Akima! My two dogs and two cats. If you find my lost turtle crawling around please keep him safe. I love you and will remember you forever. Your humble resident, Mr. Carter.”

At the closing of my new home, I told the sellers that it was an honor to raise my son there, knowing they must be feeling the same as me.

They replied, “A lot of good memories were made there.”

So when you’re watching these shows where some pretty man is criticizing the dated kitchen or horrendous wallpaper, or thinking that yourself as you renovate a new place, just remember a lot of happy moments occurred in that space and that house really was a home to someone else … who might still miss being there.