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Selling My Family Home

My car tire dipped into the familiar divot in the curve of the road as I drove home, tears started to well up in my eyes, and a moment later, our magical property came into view on my left— my home, my sanctuary, my place for recharging and relaxing with the people I love most. As a realtor, I have helped countless people sell their homes—declutter, donate, clean, stage, photograph, and present the property in the best light possible, all while knowing that someday I would have to help my parents do the same. My sisters and I agree that it came too soon; we weren’t ready for it, but the truth is, we never will be.
As I walked through the back door, the springs caught and slowly closed, then slammed shut behind me. When my daughter was a baby, I remember yelling at everyone to not let the door slam. She would instantly wake up and my few brief moments of peace would be shattered. I walked past the kitchen island, a butcher block top with two strong wooden posts on either end, the second one marked with our family’s heights over the years. I was grateful at that moment that our mom let us do that. I continued down the hall and the hardwood floors creaked predictably as I turned to head up the stairs. I reached out for the banister and my hand wrapped around it easily as I ascended. Halfway up, at the landing, I stopped and looked out the beautiful window that overlooks the yard, tears streaming down my cheeks. The grandfather clock chimed in the front entryway as it had for nearly the last 40 years, and it was simultaneously soothing and sad. I tried to touch every piece of molding, open and close every door, admire the original door hardware, and the beautiful carvings and millwork. All of these emotions and I hadn’t even made it outside yet.
Walking out on the bluestone patio at dusk, the light was golden and the plants seemed to glow. There were chipmunks and birds, squirrels and turkeys all floating around the property, not the least bit bothered by my presence. The gardens are wild, full of all the plants my mom loves, placed carefully and artistically, but not necessarily in any sort of order. Wisteria climbs the stone wall and has taken over with such enthusiasm that my mother must constantly cut it back so it doesn’t smother the other plants; it has been growing on the property since the house was first built in 1930. Nearly 100 years old and still growing strong. From the stone patio the horse field comes into view, the grasses golden in the fading sun. I meandered down to the barn where my sisters and I grew up, mucking stalls, feeding our horses, cleaning the barn, and generally just spending time together. We always had a boombox, playing Enya mostly, convinced by our mother that anything else would be unsettling to the horses. Her songs will forever evoke a sense of calm for me, in chorus with horses chewing, sighing, and gently nickering.
I made my way back up to the house as the light faded, the sky a cotton candy sunset of pinks, blues, purples, oranges, and yellows. The crickets had come out and were chirping loudly and fireflies were starting to pop out along the tree line. I could see lights glowing softly in the house, and I took a few moments to take it all in one last time.
I walked into the house to the sound of my children playing, the smells and sounds of my mother cooking, and my father greeted me with a stemless glass of pinot noir. I stop to wonder where the time has gone and how on earth I am drinking wine with my parents while my own children run around our home, no longer filled with the sounds of my sisters and me as girls. 
I’ve always thought of myself as a compassionate realtor, taking time with my clients and walking them through the sometimes painful process of selling a beloved home with a great amount of patience and understanding, but I can say with great confidence that I now bring a level of understanding achieved only by having gone through the process firsthand. A sale of this magnitude, in terms of emotional attachment, supersedes nearly all of the sales I’ve been through personally and in my career.
Now as I sit at my computer and write this I can’t stop the tears from flowing, knowing that our beloved home is home to another family now. My only solace is that they are there, loving the property, their kids riding bikes in the driveway.

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