Selling and Saying Goodbye

The sign went up today.
Eighteen years of life well-lived is for sale.
An empty-nest ranch on a quiet cul-de-sac grabbed us at the first drive-by.
Within the first year, our daughter graduated college and came to stay awhile.
A few months later, our son and his family moved in with our first grandchild.
Loving and living and laughing; we made it work.

In the blink of an eye, along came another baby girl and another son through marriage!
Our kids found their own homes; and it was just us again....
To build a garden wall, plant flower beds, design and construct a deck
Full time jobs didn't keep us from babysitting, having sleepovers and spoiling our granddaughters.
Swim, bike ride, carnivals, fairs and Disneyworld...all through the eyes of children again.
We were having the time of our lives.

Missteps and health hiccups finally caught up with us, but again we made it work.
Working from home in his wheelchair, then a walker and finally a cane....
Grandpa orchestrated and oversaw the house renovation project.
Wood floors, new appliances, added windows, French doors, Berber carpet.
As his health and mobility improved, we did a switcheroo....
He took over the household chores and I the yard work.
Great fun with our grandson running around most days!

Just when we thought it couldn't be a more wonderful life,
The twins came along! Retirement quickly followed and now....
It truly was a Grandma and Grandpa house with double the stuff and double the fun!
Sandboxes and slides, swim gear and skateboards filled the garage.
Portable cribs in the kid's room, games and books in the den and lap trays for those
Breakfast in Bed mornings with grandpa's famous pancakes.

All five grandkids had pals in the neighborhood.
The twins lost their fear of dogs from the gentle shelties who lived next door.
The man across the street lent a hand for trimming too-high hedges.
Every Halloween, there we were; sitting out front. In costumes. With gin and tonics.
Catching up with neighbors while we passed out goodies was the highlight of fall.
Our yard-decorated front, back and side; had the most witches, scarecrows and ghosts
Thanks to Grandpa's bargain shopping!

Same at Christmas time. Oh, how many freezing Decembers we took turns on the ladder,
Putting up colored lights and hanging wreaths;
Blinking Santas and snowmen, polar bears and a family of ducks. The after-holiday-clearance
Stuff was all right here in our beautiful yard. "The more the merrier the holiday," he'd say.
And inside was no different.
Over the years we acquired quite a collection of musical decorations;
Imagine them all playing at once!

From the time they were little, the kiddos planted garden flowers and veggies every year.
We called them our Gardenyardigans. Carrots and strawberries were a favorite.
And the flowers; learning to cut and gather throughout the spring and summer is such joy.
We helped them hunt for bug and leaf specimens; and watched as they ran and shrieked
Catching fireflies on a warm June night.
With the stone wall and the oversized deck, there isn't much lawn to play on.....but there's a hill!
Great for coming down in winter snow; slippery fun running down into the summer sprinkler.

No Christmas decorations this past year. No sitting outside at Halloween.
The kids are busy with sports and clubs now and have all become great swimmers.
Sleepovers are in the big bed now, and it's donuts for breakfast, not pancakes.
It's become a Grandma-only house; not the same. Just not the same without him.
Both the inside and the outdoors have lost something;
The other side of shared work, accomplishment, pride, enjoyment and love for this house.
A brand new place 18 years ago that became a lived-in home filled with happiness.

Soon, the time to say goodbye will be here.
Time for this ranch to welcome another family to live and laugh.
 If I could wrap my arms around this house;
I'd thank it for letting us become grandparents, letting us grow old together,
And eventually, for giving me the strength in it's soul to grow peace in mine;
Giving us both hope for a new future.

Our Family Tree

The Measure Wall 



  1. Oh Joan, what a beautiful piece. I know you must be going through so many emotions right now but you have so many of us who are cheering you on. You have came through hell and lived to tell about it and every single day we have watched you get a little bit stronger. That good parts of that house will always be in your heart, your only leaving the hardships behind. I wish only brighter days for you dear friend.

    1. Thanks, sweet Rena. Your words mean a lot. I will have it all in my heart is right. Writing about has helped too. I haven't forgotten about our lunch date....I'll be in touch!

  2. So many wonderful memories! I know how hard it is to say goodby to the place where the memories happened, but it's not saying goodby to the memories. Those we get to keep and cherish forever. And I'm sure, Joan, you will make new wonderful memories wherever you go.

    1. Thanks, Bob. Each house we lived in was a chapter/stage of our lives and then we'd move again and make life happen and adding memories. The strength I feel now is like he equipped me to be able to handle it. The grandkids help and writing about it helps! Thanks for the vote of confidence, my friend.

  3. Houses with memories. That's what is all about. Steve and I are about to move on to a new adventure in homes, hopefully. Can't wait to get started doing it all over again. New memories, new home. The next phase.

    1. Memories stay tucked inside....along with the anticipation of building new ones! Great attitude, Sue, thanks for the reminder! Best wishes for you and Steve!

  4. So moving! Brought me to tears!!! I hope it goes to a family that will love it too.

    1. Thanks, Haralee. I sent a link to my realtor who's going to share with the family that shows interest or has lots of inquiries! A house is not a home until we live and love awhile. Along the way we leave heartprints that add to life. Hopefully the next family will sense that.

  5. I think this is the best thing you've ever written. I remember after my own father died and my mom sold the house -- there were just to many ghosts in the old house. He was everywhere you turned. I wasn't happy that she did it but I sure did understand. I hope your next journey will be wonderful.

    1. How nice of you, Kc! Thank you so just came out, I had no plan! This is my life in transition and knowing I'm doing okay I guess.
      thanks for always being my #1 fan.....can you believe I'm going back to Michigan?!

  6. What a lovely post. I am not quite ready to sell my house, but I am contemplating it more and more and I know it is a move that will come in the near future.

    1. Thanks, Olga. You will know when it's hurry, my friend. I came to it gradually, and then found peace in the decision and focused on the process. It's lifted me out and up to hope and anticipation! Hugs!

  7. have me in tears with this post! What a lovely testament to your marriage and life!
    Laurie @ Pride in Photos

    1. Thank you, Laurie; I'm late in replying as the movers, cleaning and closing got in the way! I appreciate your sweet words and knowing you could feel our love and life here! Going to check out your blog/page!

  8. Joan, thank you for taking us with you on your trip down memory lane. Such fond memories. We left our first home with our children's measurements on the wall. I cried when we drove away from it. You are an artist of words.