Weird, isn’t it? That the house you’ve grown up in, known for the majority of your life, is suddenly going to be someone else’s?
I’ve lived in my childhood home since I was three years old. We were the first family to ever live in it, the first family to make memories in it, and the first family to ever paint the walls. We were the first family to rip the screen door off by accident when barbequing, the first family to bury a dead goldfish in the backyard, and the first family in the neighborhood to say fuck you to having a swing set in our backyard. We were so much more creative than those swing sets.
This house with the red shutters and the red door was where I lost my virginity to my best friend in high school—romantic candles and all. This was the home where I watched my oldest brother double check all my closets because he thought there were monsters in them, before he went through his third stint of rehab. It was the home where I learned how to play the piano, a skill I will cherish for the rest of my life.
This childhood house was a status symbol that let all of my private school friends know that, yeah, my family was relatively wealthy. It was an icon of the fact that we lived a seemingly ideal All-American family lifestyle, with four kids, a married family, and a dog. It was a shelter for what went on behind closed doors.
When I came home for a weekend and saw the “For Sale” sign in our front lawn, it looked as pretentious as ever. I realized I was going to have to redefine my definition of the word “home.” Even though I have no fucking idea what the word “home” currently means for me, I knew it was no longer here, in this home. This sanctuary, the driveway that calmed me after being away for a while, was going to be inhabited by someone else soon.
The simple thought of my house being filled with another family, most likely one with a similar amount of children, probably little, with snot dripping down their faces, pissed me off. I couldn’t bear walking away from the house without leaving a mark, other than the many my shoes have made on the hardwood floor. I went inside, took out my key from the house that represented everything prior to my parents’ recent divorce, and carved my initials into my closet’s wall. Hard.
Selling my childhood home closed so many doors that, sometimes, I wish had remained open. The dissolution of a permanent home coincided with the dissolution of my parent’s marriage, spanning three decades. However, it made me realize that it’s my turn now. It’s my turn to define home. It’s up to my siblings and I to keep the pieces of our family together, whatever is left. While selling your childhood home is sad, it is also unbelievably freeing.