Ever since I got married and had my son, I’ve been urging my parents to think about selling my childhood home in Orlando, Florida, and moving up to Georgia to be closer to us. Right around Memorial Day, when they visited my grandma and aunt in Tennessee and us in Atlanta, they started to seriously consider it.
Last Thursday, they officially put their house on the market and flew to Seattle to visit my sister for 10 days. The got an offer the very next day. On Sunday, they accepted. Closing is in mid-August.
And man, did I cry when I found out! I was so shocked at how much it impacted me. On the positive side, I am very excited that they will be within driving distance no matter where they end up buying their new home.
However, I grew up in that house. My parents bought it five years before I was born. My very first dog is buried in the back yard, plus several other dogs and cats and numerous hamsters from over the years. It’s a regular pet cemetery back there.
In 1983, my parents had an in-ground swimming pool put in the back yard. My sister and I wrote our initials and the date in the cement.
My entire life revolved around that home. There are only two Christmases I did NOT spend there: once, at age 15, I was in Israel on a trip with my church’s youth choir; the other was this past Christmas, because I’d just had my son.
The sale of my parents’ home spurred all sorts of memories: riding bikes and swimming in the backyard with friends and neighbors, the swing set my parents put in for me as a kid, the basketball hoop where my dad and I used to play “H-O-R-S-E,” all the neighbors we have known my entire life.
It is extremely bittersweet to see the house that holds 35+ years of memories be sold to someone new. I hope they will care for that little house the same way my parents always did and be good neighbors to the people we care for still living there.
Even though my parents were so far away in Orlando, there was something equally comforting about the fact that I could always go “home,” and the people and places I’d left behind would always still be there.
Even though I’ve been gone from Orlando for nearly five years (two in Pensacola and three in Atlanta), Orlando was still my home, because my parents – my anchor – still lived there. Now, that anchor has been pulled up, and I’m still not sure where it will be let down again. It may be a few months before I know.
I told my husband last night, “If I had only known all the events I would set in motion when I chose to leave Orlando for Pensacola almost five years ago.”
I used a quote back then that I have to repeat now:
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide