Moving to Illinois … Sold! And the Long Good-Bye

You guys!! My house is SOLD!!

Well, not officially, because closing hasn’t happened yet. But our buyers signed off on the last of the contingencies yesterday morning, which means our contract is now locked-in. The appraiser is coming tomorrow, and we will do the termite inspection later this week. After that, it is just a short slide to the official closing date, when the buyers will sign their half of the documents. My husband and I are planning to sign our part early, so we can pack up and head to our new state. Let me just say right now: With an overstuffed SUV … towing a trailer … and two dogs … We are going to be traveling Beverly Hillbillies style! I’m kind of dreading it. But I’m also kind of looking forward to it. Just the thought of it makes me laugh. It’s going to be frustrating as heck but also fun.

So, of course, this means the start of our long good-bye to our current house. I have so many emotions right now, and they are all jumbled together in a clump around my heart. I am happy and relieved that the house sold. It was a crazy and exhausting push to get it ready to go onto the market, and another crazy and exhausting push to get it sold quickly. It didn’t sell as quickly as we had hoped, but we still sold within 3 weeks of listing. This is not bad at all. I will take it! I feel almost giddy with relief that we are so close to “done” on this part of our new adventure. Our buyers are a cute young couple. I say “young”, but they are probably in their early to mid-thirties. They remind me of my husband and me when we moved in here. It makes me happy to know the house is going to people who love it and are excited to live here.

At the same time, everything feels bittersweet to me. And tinged with a healthy dose of guilt, as are most things in my life. I swear, I am a guilt magnet. We’ve lived here for almost sixteen years. There are a lot of memories tied up in this house. It was weird, this Spring, to think about how this would be the last year I would look out of my front windows and watch our cherry tree blooming. That has to be one of my favorite memories from this house: standing at the window and watching the petals float down to the ground like clumps of pink snow. I love watching the huge bees bumble in and out of the tree’s leaves and flowers. Often, they come right up to the screen and bump against it.


This house welcomed our new baby daughter when we came home from the hospital. It has been her only home — her whole world, really! — for fifteen years. She learned to walk in our upstairs hallway. She learned to talk in her bedroom, while we were reading books together. She used to stand in her crib in her room and listen for me to walk out into the hallway, so that she could call out to me. Because she knew I would always come for her.

This house held us close and sheltered us every winter when the snow piled up outside and the winds howled around the windows and doors. It gave us a perfect spot for our Christmas tree every year. We made hot chocolate in its kitchen and laughed together as a family in this house. Sixteen years can hold a lot of laughter. Sometimes, I feel like I can hear it echoing against the walls, even now. In the Spring, we planted flowers on the deck (in spite of my lack of a green thumb!), trimmed back the roses, and blew bubbles in the front yard. Our daughter learned to ride her bike in our driveway and the parking lot in front of  our house.


My two goofball dogs grew up in this house. They learned to play and trust and guard within its walls. They changed from puppies to grown dogs, almost in front of my eyes. They raced and play-fought and had zoomies in the back yard, even though it was small. They sat with us on the sofas during movie night, trying to steal popcorn out of the bowl when we weren’t looking. Nothing brings joy and laughter like goofy dogs.

Of course, there were sad times, too. Because life isn’t perfect. This is the house where my beloved dog, Tex, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. And the same with our sweet Sister Kitty. And this is the house where my husband had a heart attack, followed by quadruple by-pass. This is the house where I learned to live with depression. And it is the house where, in many ways, my creativity died.


This was our first house. I still remember the excitement and slight terror that came with that first set of keys. We learned a lot about ourselves in this house. We learned a lot about “us” as a family, too. Some of those lessons were fun. Some were horrible and painful. But all of them were good and valuable.

I feel like this house and I never got along — not really and truly. I don’t know why. Maybe I expected too much from it. Maybe I couldn’t get over the fact that, when I dreamed of the type of house I wanted, this house never approached that ideal. And, to a certain extent, I feel I gave up during the years we lived in this house. I relinquished my creativity and my desires. I never finished any of the projects I had planned when we moved into this house. I had big, big plans at that time. But then, life happened. I got sad. And I retreated. For the most part, I never even started my house projects. Yeah, I think it’s fair to say I gave up.


For many  years now, I have felt trapped inside this house. I wanted to love it, without reservation. I wanted to give myself over to this house and work to make it into what I had dreamed and hoped after for such a long time. And yet, I couldn’t see my way out of the morass of negativity into which I had sunk over the years. I couldn’t find the light that would lead me out or that would let me find a path forward. In some ways, I blamed this house. Which is silly. It is an inanimate object. But there you go. Human emotion isn’t rational. And I came to realize this house would never be what I wanted it to be, but that problem wasn’t with the house. It was with ME.

Now, I find myself in a weird place. I am looking backward and seeing all of these sweet memories. And I am also looking forward and seeing our new house in my future — a house that comes very close to what I dreamed of all those years ago. And I find my heart is filled with love for my “old” house. Because it taught me how to be a homeowner. Because I learned how to be a mom here. Because it taught me about myself.

But mostly, because of this: For sixteen years, this place wasn’t just a house. It was HOME. And you can’t place a value on that. Not ever.

10 thoughts on “Moving to Illinois … Sold! And the Long Good-Bye

  1. Congratulations! I’m so excited for you. I can completely understand that mixed feeling on leaving a house. When we were leaving the last house I lived in, I think I was more excited than not because I never was a huge fan. It was in part because it was a house Hubby bought before we ever met, so I never had a say or was a part of the choosing process and it wasn’t a house I ever would have chosen for myself. It very much felt like I was trying really hard to wear someone else’s shoes. At the same time, both of our kids together were born while we lived there and we did have some really great memories. Thankfully, we weren’t there nearly as long as you, so we didn’t have quite so many to walk away from.

    Does this also mean you were able to get the house you were hoping for?

    • That’s how I feel: more excited than not. But I feel a little bad about that because I think I am the only one in my family who is excited about the move and the new house. I’ve been ready to move from this area for at last 5 years now, even though I will miss my friends terribly. We have so many great memories from this house, and it is a great house. It just wasn’t a great house for ME. Sometimes, I think it isn’t possible to overcome that feeling of wearing someone else’s shoes (great way of putting it! it is exactly how it feels!). And yes! It looks like we will be able to get the house we were hoping for. Now that we are under contract in VA and the closing dates are so close together, we should be able to get a slight extension in our new state. We are just working with our realtor now to figure out a new date and get the extension into place. There have been so many moving parts to this move. It has been a lot messier than I would have liked. LOL

      • There really isn’t any reasons to feel guilty. You do have a right to have different emotions about this situation than the rest of your family because you are an individual. You don’t have to gloat about those feelings, but there isn’t anything wrong with being excited about this move. Change can be really exciting, but for some, it can be completely overwhelming. Everyone has to deal with it in their own way. Mostly, just don’t beat yourself up for feeling the way you do.

        Great news about the other house!

      • Very true, and wise words. Thanks for telling me what I needed to hear. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to be happy about something, even if others aren’t. And you are right: I am sympathetic/empathetic to their feelings and not rubbing my happiness in their faces or anything. I am just hard-wired for guilt, it seems. Or maybe it’s more that I was trained to it from an early age. And childhood lessons are not easily forgotten.

        I am so full of “yay!!” about the new house. I have already started putting together design plans. I won’t feel completely sure and relieved until the keys are in my hand, but I definitely feel more confident than I did a week ago!

  2. Pish! Hi! It’s Jenn from That’s a Jenn Story. I haven’t been blogging much but I went back and read a couple of my old posts for a class I’m teaching and was reminded by your sweet comments what a great person you are. This post is another great reminder. I can REALLY resonate with your conclusion.

    Can we catch up? You can reach me through my contact form at my Pilgrimage website.

    • Hi! Yes, of course! I would love to catch up. I’ll take a look at your website. I hope things are going well for you. I really need to post in this blog soon. Life has been so busy lately that I struggle to find the time. Thanks so much for stopping by to read and for your kind comment. *cyberhugs*

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