Tonight, I walked out of my high school home for the last time. Dad had an estate sale last week, and all the remaining trash was hauled out to a dumpster over the weekend. I stopped by to pick up the card table and chairs that were used in the sale this evening, and said goodbye to the garage door as I backed out of the driveway.
I feel a bit of melancholy about it, but I wasn't attached to the house as much as many people are. I lived there for 5 years which was the longest I lived at any house growing up. But I rented a duplex with friends for that long, as well, and have just surpassed that record in our home now; in August we'll have lived here 6 years.
The old house was special, though, because it was the first one Mom and Dad didn't flip. We moved there soon after Dad's triple bypass because it was a ranch and had an HOA that handled lawn maintenance and snow removal. And so they stayed. Even after my sister and I moved away to college. After we got married. After we had kids. Twenty-four years. Half of their married life was spent there. It was truly their home.
It's not so much the building; I'm mostly just wistful about the "good old days": hanging out with my girlfriends in the kitchen then playing Spoons and eating brownie batter at sleepovers in the living room; listening to Bon Jovi and Poison and Guns N Roses in my bedroom; family dinners and Christmases. But really I'm mourning the loss of something more. Not only do my parents no longer live in that house, they no longer live together. I'm mourning the loss of my parents' role as the caretakers. Of the safe cocoon of my youth. Of my smart, strong, caring mother who has been replaced by someone who doesn't know who I am.
It's hard to say goodbye to those things. Those are the things that were woven into the fabric of my being. The house… is just a house. When I break it down that way, it's much easier to leave it.
Farewell, old house. You were lucky to shelter such an amazing couple.