Friday, August 29, 2008

What makes a house a home?

You already know the answer, but I had to be reminded of it recently.

My husband and I are thinking about moving across the country from Texas to California. Finally we're at a stage in our lives where we can swing it. We have no jobs tying us down, no kids in school, and the finances are lining up.

I've been alternately excited and terrified by the prospect of moving. It's a lot of work, and it's sure to be a financial strain. But until yesterday, I hadn't realized how emotionally taxing it will be to sell a house I've been renovating for ten years. When the Realtor suggested I paint my living room (it's currently red) I came unglued. Over my dead body will someone paint my red living room. Does she have any idea how long it took me to choose that color? How hard I worked patching the walls? The yards of masking tape involved? Never mind the agony of the actual painting, up and down that freaking ladder a hundred times.

After the Realtor left, I just stood in my beautiful living room, the only room in the house that's really perfect, and I boo-hoo'd like a baby. How could anyone not love it just as it is? What if the new owners rip down my window treatments and paint the walls white?

Will the house feel abandoned? Will it think I didn't love it enough? (It's all Warner Brothers fault I personify houses. Anybody ever see that lovely cartoon about a house ... oh, never mind.)

But then I had to laugh at myself. What is a house, anyway, but a collection of sticks and bricks and plaster? It's the people inside the house and the love among them that make a home special, and those I'll take with me. I'll still have all my special things (although the Realtor had the audacity to suggest my egg cup collection is too cluttery). I'll always have fond memories of this house, this neighborhood. But whatever new house I end up with, it will soon become my beloved home. (I hope I won't have to spend ten years renovating it, though!)


Estella said...

You're right. A house is just a house until someone makes it their own by personalizing it.

Kara Lennox said...

Thank you for your comment, Estella. Sorry I haven't been back! Crazy few days.