The Journey's End ... a Farewell and a Thank You

Apologies in advance: this post is going to be one of the most picture and thought intensive posts I've ever done.  Today we sell our first home and hand over the keys.  After nearly an entire year (July 12, 2010 was the day we first saw what is now our home), our house buying and selling process has finally come to a close.  

As soon as our realtor put that little "Sold" bubble on the "For Sale" sign in our yard, I felt simultaneously relieved and sad.  We sold our house! We were leaving! We were moving! and we sold our house. we were leaving. we were moving.  The thing about selling is you have to detach from your home and look at it as a "thing" you are trying to get rid of, versus the place you grew and loved in.  The instant that the selling was behind us, the reality of leaving our first home set in.  Thank goodness I had a few weeks of packing to distract me once more.  We closed on our new house a few weeks earlier than closing on our current one, so I had a chance to go back to our first home and spackle the nail holes, clean it up and touch up the paint.  I know it's a bit beyond what was necessary, but I felt I owed it to our house to send it off into its next owner's hands in the best shape possible.  It also gave me a much needed break from unpacking boxes at the new house and was a sort of prolonged goodbye to the sweet little home that I loved and lived in for nearly 7 years.   When I was finished, I forced myself to blink back tears and take pictures of each and every empty space.  And now for a little trip down memory lane. 

The exterior is so charming.  We put in the concrete walkway right after Big was born. I vividly remember the concrete guy knocking on the door to ask how we wanted the shrubs placed and I was holding a newborn baby boy.  Those house numbers were my very first home DIY project.  I took off the old dated brass numbers and glued these up on the post.  

The yard ... oh I will miss it!  The former owners landscaped it so beautifully.  We put in the fence right after my daughter was born.  The magnolia tree over the shed ... how I wish I had snapped a picture of it this Spring (though, at the time it was in bloom, I was convinced we would never sell and I'd be there forever).  

Back inside, it was hard to keep the memories from flooding in: my housewarming party when my one friend told me she was pregnant, the same party with a friend who is no longer with us, learning I was pregnant with both babies, bringing home babies into that green front door, walking said babies around the dining room when they were fussy, Christmas, birthday parties, many different paint colors, watching the seasons from the couch through the dining room bay window ... 

The kitchen went from mustard wallpaper with a coral fleur-de-lis stamp to pale yellow to soft greyish green.  I packed many a lunch, made many a dinner and dropped many a dish in that kitchen.

The basement was a den then den/playroom then we threw up our hands, waived the white flag and turned it into a dedicated playroom.  

The laundry room is still one of my proudest transformations.  It was so ugly and scary before and in the end, it became downright cheery.  I will miss that Cloudburst colored floor.

The garage -- I had grand plans to paint the walls and floor.  I never got around to it.

Our bathrooms (one half and one full) were small but bright and clean.  I am so glad I ripped out the shower doors in the full bath.  The glass shelf in the full bath is one of my first projects, too.  I had to go to Lowes to buy a masonry drill bit because there is old (pink!) tile behind our wainscoting.  

My craft room transformation was super fun, and I proved to myself that I could handle some more serious, structural repairs.  I still love the cheery pale yellow high-gloss that I scored in the Oops Paint section of Lowe's.  

Big's bedroom looks so dark without all the primary colors in his bedding and throughout the space!  He started in this room in a crib, then moved to a toddler bed and left it in a big boy bed.  It happened way too fast.

The master bedroom is the very first room in my life that I painted.  My sister was helping me paint and I decided to tape the room.  Unfortunately, it being my first paint job, I didn't get that you need to tape above the line you wish to create.  I taped a sort of border around the room and we had to rip it all down.  I have not (and will never) lived this down.  I'll really miss those big chunky faux wood blinds from Target.  They blocked the light wonderfully and added great texture.  I may have to bring them back to the new house.  My husband and I shared the closet, which I'm sure in a few months I will not believe. 

Little's room (which used to be Big's nursery) was the hardest space for me to leave.  I think it started when I saw the paint label from Sherwin Williams and it was dated January 18, 2006.  Big wasn't even born and we'd only recently learned that he was a boy.  I wanted a blue room but a blue that would eventually work for a girl if we had one.  Good foresight on my part.  The back corner was where my glider once sat, and I spent countless nights and countless hours nursing my babies in the middle of the night in that spot.  It's hard to let go of that.

We had a little wren house and a family of wrens made a nest inside this year.  So, the wren house stays.  Bye bye birdies.

Throughout this process, which was positively heart-wrenching and heart-breaking many times over, the two J words that kept me going were Journey and (St.) Joseph.  When we listed our house for sale in Summer 2010, I kept hearing the Journey song "Don't Stop Believin" at odd times when big things with the house were happening. The day our deal on our current home fell apart in the Fall, I got in my car and the first thing on the radio was that song.  It kept coming back.  I didn't stop believing.  I had moments, but it's like I always knew we would end up OK.  Likewise, when we listed in the Summer, I ran out and bought a St. Joseph statue and, per the instructions, buried him in the yard and prayed to him nightly.  When we removed the house from the market, I dug him up and put him along with his prayer cards in our dining room buffet.  When we relisted the house in February, about a week after we were on the market, the prayer cards literally appeared out of nowhere and on the dining room buffet.  We did not bring them out.  They were just sitting in the middle of the buffet one morning.  I took it as a sign and buried St. Joseph again.  I made sure to find him, dig him up and will give him a spot of honor at our new home.

I'd like to send a big thank you to my friends and family who supported us and never ever stopped being in our corner as we tried to buy and sell our dear homes.  It was hard and awful -- far moreso than I ever expected possible -- and we knew we could count on you to listen to us and just get through.  I'd also like to thank St. Joseph, whose intercession I truly believe helped.  

When I shut the door at my first home for the last time, I sat in the driveway and cried and cried.  Don't get me wrong, I am beyond excited about what lies ahead in our new home.  But it's hard to say goodbye to a place that has been a constant for you through good times and bad, through joy and sorrow, through fights and hugs, through smiles and tears.  Thank you to my first home.  You are more than four walls.  You kept us warm and safe and surrounded us with love.  I will never, ever forget you.

See you swoon,


  1. Awww Shanna, I am in tears reading this post. I know just how you feel because I felt the same way when we sold our first home. You have been through a lot with buying and selling, and you deserve every bit of happiness. But allow yourself to grieve as well. You will never replace the memories of nursing your babies and walking them around the house, but you will create new, amazing memories as they grow. I still miss our first home 5 years later, but love the home we are in now and wouldn't trade it for the world.
    Big hugs to you my dear friend! You done good ;)

  2. Shan--what a great, heart-felt post. You captured a lot of the same feelings and memories that I had as well. Thank you for sharing them with everyone, being my partner in this whole process and just being you. Much love, Tye

  3. What a sweet post, Shanna. It was a lovely little house that YOU filled with so much love and joy. All the best in your new home. xoxo

  4. Beautifully said Shanna! It is funny how transitions in life can be both happy and sad at the same time!! May God bless you and your family in your new home...I know you will have many new memories!!!!!

  5. You brought me to tears, Shanna!

    As much as we grew to hate our old house and were ready to leave, it was still really hard to say goodbye.

  6. Thanks everyone! Closing on Friday went very smoothly, and I feel good about handing over the keys to our buyer. She clearly loves the house.