Today marked the end of third grade for our kids. It also marked the end of four years at their elementary school (new school for them in the fall) and the last of our physical attachments and commitments to our former home of twelve years. We listed it for sale in October of 2012 at a ridiculously low price…much lower than what we owed due to market crash and really, the price was nearly equal to what we’d spent out of pocket over the twelve years of home ownership on our paycheck to paycheck remodel/rehab of the property.
We received two full price offers the same day we listed. Five months later, in mid-February, both lien-holders accepted the offers within five days of one another.
Don’t get me wrong…we listed the house FOR SALE. We were either going to sell it or walk away because we’d outgrown the house the moment we’d gotten pregnant with twins, and nine years later, we were still there wondering if the market would recover enough to sell it before our girl/boy twins went off to college so that they could finally stop sharing a room…but…
Within a few weeks of accepting an offer and not hearing anything from either lienholder, it’s natural to wonder if the banks are going to agree to the offer. After a few MONTHS of not hearing from them, it’s very natural to wonder if the prospective buyer has lost interest while still wondering if the banks are even considering the offers. Add a few more months, and it’s natural to stop believing that you’ll ever move at all, and then whole ‘listing/showing/attempting to sell’ phase seems like a distant memory that whacks you in the face every time you open your front door and see the ‘for sale’ sign still in your front yard.
When, after five months, we heard the first lien-holder had accepted, our lawyer cautioned us to not get too excited because the second bank could still say ‘no’.
When, five days later, the second bank agreed to the sale with the condition that the sale close and we move out within 7 days of their agreement…
…Yes! Technically we had five months to gather all of our stuff and move SOMEWHERE, but between our planned destination falling through two weeks AFTER our sale closed (we’d been ‘finalizing’ the planned destination from the moment our house contracted) and the fact that we had lived in this home, the only house we’d ever owned, for twelve years…moved in as a newly married couple and moved out as a family of four (plus pets), the reality of FIVE DAYS was a little harsh.
As my Nana Grams always said, “Darlin’, God’s timing is PERFECT”.
We were blessed to be taken in by a family friend who opened his home to our whole family, no questions asked and minimal expectations. We stayed with him for two months, almost exactly. While there, we worked through some of our emotional baggage that we’d packed while short-selling our home. We worked through the reality that, for the first time in our lives, we were essentially homeless. We worked through the guilt that that reality brings to parents of two third-graders. We worked our way back into gratitude for all of the amazing gifts we DO have. We allowed ourselves to let go of our attachments to ‘stuff’, especially that belonging to loved ones who can and will NEVER come back for it.
All the while, we focused on what matters most to us.
Our children’s health.
Our children’s education.
On my birthday in late April, we received a call letting us know we’d been approved to rent a house I’d found on Craigslist earlier that week. The house is back in the city we’d just moved from. It’s close (bike-rideable) to my husbands work. It’s only a mile from our church. It’s assigned elementary school is the BEST within the city limits. The house has a bedroom for each kid as well as separate living, dining and family rooms. There is an attached 2 car garage (I haven’t seen one of those since I was in college!) and a detached workshop for me and my art. The back yard is fully fenced and has tall hedges on three sides (workshop is on the fourth) so for the first time since I was a child living on 20 acres in the country with my parents, no neighbor can look into my backyard without being invited into the house first.
Instead of the constant barrage of freight trains, gravel trucks, ambulances and constant heavy traffic, we now live on a quiet dead-end street and we are at the top of the cul du sac. I hear birds. It’s better than I’d expected, imagined or envisioned and we are all so grateful. I see our daughter relax and realize that she is finally allowing herself to because she sees my husband and I are. We can relax here. We can breathe. We can imagine life not trudging forward as it felt for so many years, but really moving ahead in such an awesome way!
I regularly hear in my head a sound-byte from one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems:
Listen To The Mustn’ts
Listen to Mustn’ts, child, listen to the Don’ts.
Listen to the Shouldn’ts, the Impossibles, the Won’ts.
Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.
© Shel Silverstein. All rights reserved