If everything goes according to plan, the sale of my childhood home will officially close on Thursday, December 27. On that day, my family and I will awaken with heavy hearts, knowing that in just a few hours we will place our keys on the kitchen counter and exit through the front door for the final time. Just thinking about it puts a lump in my throat. Though I have little doubt that the timing is right for us to move on, when the final family photo is snapped, while standing in the front yard next to the real estate sign reading, “Sold,” it will feel like we are saying “so-long” to a cherished friend. For the past few months, I have attempted to keep my emotions at bay while preparing for and assisting with the sale. I would like to tell you that it was a calculated decision, to better maximize the value of my house as a “marketable commodity,” but that would not be the entire truth. Selling a house, and preparing for a move, is hard to do. I knew I was not fully prepared to balance the day-to-day decision-making and time management with allowing sentiment to enter the equation. Finally, on Christmas Day, all of the work has now been completed and I have nothing left to do but type on my laptop computer while sitting on an air mattress in my living room. As I read aloud the words I type, my voice echoes in a living space completely devoid of furniture, but replete with happy memories. It is appropriate that I am writing this post in my living room, because so often during my upbringing, this home was full of life. It has been a struggle finding the right words to say to mark this momentous occasion. I have to admit that after weeks of mulling it over, it brings me tremendous peace to accept that perfect words will not be forthcoming. How could I possibly encapsulate over 35 years in just a few sentences? Ultimately, I would like to express how grateful I am to have had the pleasure of growing up in this home on Lexington Avenue. I also want to thank every person who has contributed to the flood of memories that have made me both smile and laugh, as I have cleared this living space in preparation for the buyers to begin creating theirs. Most of all, I want to thank my father, mother and older brother. My dad bought this house for my mom and me in the early 1970s. Over the course of 30 years, he paid off the mortgage in full. After his unexpected passing in 1999, my mother always had the security of having a roof over her head. I will always revere him for that wonderful gift. Of course, my mother could have been content with just having a roof over her head and allowing the house to fall into disrepair. If you think that is even a possibility, you have never met my mom, who is a force of nature. Since my father’s passing, my mother has commandeered the complete overhaul of this home, from remodeling every room, to overseeing the re-roofing process, to installing a Japanese garden out front. In the marketing leaflet, created by our broker that was provided to prospective buyers, the interior of our home was described as “expertly designed.” I know mom got a kick out of that. Among the mountain of moving boxes in our new residence, is a flyer waiting to be framed. Somewhere in Heaven, my father is admiring her work and feeling proud of her today, while preparing for the lecture I will someday receive for not pulling the trigger years ago during a seller’s market. Finally, there is my older brother who hid behind the couch, just a few feet from where I now type, so I would laugh and be surprised by the gift of his company upon my return from elementary school. He does not hide behind furniture anymore, but I can always count on him for laughter and love. It is worth mentioning that my parents always had a dream that when the time came to sell their home, it would be to a young couple as they were in 1975. I had my first opportunity to meet the buyers yesterday afternoon, and they certainly fit the bill. They have a young son, who cannot be older than seven years of age, who hid bashfully behind his father as the adults exchanged pleasantries. With just 10 minutes to spare until this memorable Christmas Day draws to a close, my one wish is that in 20 to 30 years, that same boy will sit in this empty living room while writing a few clumsy lines about his happy childhood in his home on Lexington Avenue.
“Quitting is fundamentally different from stopping. The latter happens all the time. Quitting happens once. Quitting means not starting again - and art is all about starting again.
Art & Fear - Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking
written by David Bayles & Ted Orland