In the envelope was a letter from the girl who last lived in this house. I knew there was a young teenage girl here, but we never met her. Based on the handwriting and the letter itself, she was about 12 or 13 at the time.
She wrote about how this house had a lot of happy memories for her and a lot of bad as well. She wrote about how she hoped the new owners would enjoy it and how she hoped we would take care of her house.
This absolutely made my daughters' weekend. I thought it was pretty neat too. We've lived in this house for 8 years. How have we managed to miss that all this time? I'm glad we did, though. I'm glad it was my daughters who found it when they were old enough to appreciate it. How neat is that! This is the stuff of those sappy pre-teen novels.
Although, I must say, that note from a little girl written nearly a decade ago has me wandering our halls looking at our home with new eyes.
We planned to move years ago, but weren't able to for various reasons. Then, we were supposed to be gone this past summer, but the economy made that impossible. We find ourselves complaining about how we can't wait to move out. We have a long list of things we want (more than one bathroom would be phenomenal). We have wander-lust. We want out. We're anxious to move on. This house has become a relic from our past to which we're shackled long after it has outgrown its usefulness.
Since reading that letter, though, I find myself walking the halls and wondering if that little girl, now a woman, would recognize anything in this house. We've put so much work, so much time, so much love into this place. This was our first home.
All of our children took their first steps in this house. My children's heights are marked on the inside of the foyer closet door. My youngest was born in this house. A big "Welcome Home," banner was stuck in this front yard when Dh returned from his deployments. Hell, it was in the back office of this house where I started this blog 4 years ago.
Being a military family, we never felt at home. We moved from rental to rental, but those places were never, "Home." Some of them weren't even comfortable. This place, though, this has always felt like home. That's a huge deal, particularly to someone who lived for 20 years in the same house where four generations of her family had lived. There was never any doubt that that house was home and ever since I left, I found myself searching in vain for somewhere else that would have that same comfortable quality. This place was exactly that.
I want to thank that little girl for her note, not only because it excited my children, but also because it made me look at this house with new eyes. We're still ready to move on, but I can better appreciate that this house has a soul all its own. It was here before us. It was here for us and hopefully, it will prove to be not just a house, but a home for someone in the future.