Monday, July 05, 2010

house to home

Six years ago today we moved to Northwest Arkansas and we moved into our house.

Of course, we chose one of the hottest days of the year, I'm sure.

I don't remember much about our first night here, which I'm sure is because I was COMPLETELY exhausted, both physically and mentally from all that had happened that day.

I remember waking up at the crack of dawn to start the process of "getting ready to move". My mom had come to our house in Searcy a few days before the big move to help us get all the last minute packing things done. We only lived in that house one year together. Just one year. But even though it was just a year, we had a TON of stuff.

Before our alarm clock even went off, I knew it was going to be a doozy of a day. Matthew had hardly slept the night before, getting some outdoor things taken care of and spending some time with his grandparents. (They drove to our house a few hours before we were ready to leave and came to say goodbye. His grandma brought a whole bunch of oatmeal cookies for Matthew. We were all crying when they left.)

That is the reason the move was so hard, emotionally. Leaving Matthew's grandparents. He was so close to them, sometimes visiting them every single day in a week. He took care of him and they took care of him. A very special relationship!

Our friends showed up at our house bright and early to help us with the packing. While the boys were working outside, my mom, myself and my girlfriends were working inside.

We finally got everything packed that we could, had every inch of space filled, said goodbye to our first home one more time and took off for our new house.

I do remember that we got to our house around dinner time and ate Subway that night. I also remember how filthy the house was and how we had to clean everything before we could put anything away.

That is all I remember from our first day at our new house. It doesn't seem adequate enough for me now. I want to remember so much more.

The next few days passed in a blur of activity. We were unpacking, cleaning, fixing things, SWEATING.

It's hard to believe that was six years ago. It seems like a lifetime ago. I barely remember being that carefree. I wasn't even scared to be moving to a place where I knew NO ONE. I had Matthew. That was all I needed. We had each other.

And now, we are moving again. And we have so much more. We have family here. We have two little girls. We have SO MUCH MORE STUFF than we had 6 years ago. We have memories.

I was cleaning our kitchen floor today thinking about getting everything ready for the new owners. I was pulling furniture away from the walls and cleaning the baseboards, wall, etc. I started thinking, "I wish I could tell the new owners how special this house has been to us. I wish I could show them the dent in the cabinet that happened when Nora ran into it with her head and stopped our hearts for a second. I wish I could explain why some things are perfect or why some doors have certain scratches on them...I wish...". I thought, I could write them a letter and tell them everything. But, the letter that I would write them would be more for me than for them...I would want to keep it when it was all said and done...

So, here is my letter:

Dear New Owners:

Welcome! I feel like I should have some snacks waiting for you or at least offer you something to drink. You are coming to stay at my house for a while and I don't even have clean sheets for you to use. What a strange feeling this is. You are coming to live in my HOME. My home for the past 6 years.

I am so excited for you! You are newlyweds and this home that you have just bought (MY home) is going to be perfect for you. It is just the right size for you too. You will be surprised how quickly you fill it up though. We were. In just six years we went from a master bedroom/guest bedroom/office to master bedroom/girls bedroom/playroom. We have an air mattress for guests and our "office" is now a laptop in the living room.

We have done our absolute best to make this home perfect for you. But, I know, already, we have failed. Our color choices are probably not your favorites and you will paint over them.

The pink and white room...that was our nursery. It is the room we brought our babies home to. We were so proud of that room! We spent hours deciding on the color (it had to be the perfect shade of pink for our baby girl), Matthew spent hours laying the floor in that room, I worked so hard on making all of the bedding. Once both of our girls were old enough to share a room, it became the playroom and was well loved. It is a special room for us and I pray that it will be special for you as well.

The front room, the green/white stripped room...well, originally that was the guest room. It was white. I wanted a white room so badly. Matthew thought I was crazy. A white room????? Well, I wanted it to have a "hotel feel" for our many guests. When our second baby girl was born, it became Nora's room (our first baby). Matthew and I spent an entire day taping and painting that room. It was a good day. I spent hours making the curtain for that room. (I have left the curtain because it is custom made for that window. I am under no delusion that you will keep that curtain, I just didn't want to take it down and haul it with me.) I love the large window in that room, although, it is a big annoying at 6am when the sun comes streaming in.

The red kitchen (which is called "posh red" by the way) was our favorite red color when we moved here. Good luck painting over that! I understand you will. I would have if we weren't moving. But, it would have made me sad. I love Posh Red. It's also the color of our front door.

Believe it or not, it took us (and by "us" I mean Matthew) about 4 different tries to find the perfect living room color. I have no idea what is called, but I know that it worked for our decorating style. It's a beast of a job to paint over. Good luck with that.

Okay, we have covered paint colors. There is so much more I want to tell you. I feel like I need to tell all the "secrets" of the house before I hand it over to you.

There are little keys above the bedroom doors. Those will let you into the rooms if someone locks it. Very good to know if you have small children.

Oh, your neighbors! You will love them! Be sure and meet will be thankful that you did. Your next door neighbors are great. They have a little girl and are expecting another girl in October. She is a school teacher and he works somewhere close because he comes home everyday for lunch. Your across the street neighbors have a little girl that was born in January. She is precious! The husband works for a bank and the wife is starting her student teaching in the fall. The are fabulous. You other next door neighbors (the ones across the street) are great. They keep the best yard of anyone in the whole neighborhood and Matthew always tried to keep up with them. They grow a garden every summer and are responsible for keeping up the flower beds at the entrance to the subdivision. And they do not hesitate to turn people in if they don't keep their lawn mowed, so beware. They are really very nice! Your backyard neighbors are pretty nice too, although, we didn't know them as well. They have two girls who are older and they both work. He ran for mayor a few years back, interestingly enough.

There are other neighbors that we know, but I would have to draw you a diagram. Suffice it to say, you are on a very good street.

What else, what else...the backyard! When we moved in the backyard was nothing but weeds, dirt and holes. Matthew has spent many, many hours outside making it look beautiful. All the credit goes to him! The first summer we were here, he lay the rock walkway. It's my favorite thing about our backyard. Our girls loved to play out there. We have had many cookouts and had lots of friends over. It's a great place to be on a nice evening.

Speaking of having friends over, this is a good house for entertaining. The way the kitchen looks into the living room is really nice when you have a lot of people over. I hope y'all have lots of friends's the quickest way to turn your house into a home.

I literally could go on for hours writing about my home. We have loved this home. It has been perfect for us. When we bought it we had no idea how great it would be for us, but God knew this was the perfect place for us.

We have loved, laughed, yelled, cried, played, worked, cooked, washed, comforted, slept and worshipped in our home. I hope you are able to do all of those and more.

We brought our babies home here, we watched them turn into little girls here, we made it a home for them. This is the only home they have ever known. They are sad to leave it too, but as long as we take their toys with us, I think they will adjust quickly.

We are so excited about making our new house a home. It will take time for it to feel like "ours". It will take some years for it to feel familiar. I wonder how many times I will make the wrong turn and head back to this home...hmmmmm.

So, new owner, please know that when you find a floor board that hasn't been glued down tight enough or come upon a baseboard that is a little loose or discover a marking a wall that is the artwork of a little girl, please know that we did not mean to overlook these and leave you with things to fix. Instead, I hope you are able to see how loved this house was and how much care was put into the things that are perfect. We loved this house, imperfections and all. It was our home.

Thank you for loving it and I pray that you find as much love in this home as we did.

Love, the Hendersons


donna said...

I have tears rolling down my face right now. I am thinking of all of the homes we loved and left and I am proud that you were able to describe your own feelings so well - the letter to the new owners is perfect! I love you! Mom

Holly Aytes said...

Okay, that made me bawl! I think that is the nicest thing for you to do, the new homeowners will appreciate the hard work you guys have done.

Marty Rhea Hill said...

Dallas, That made me cry. I love this post and love all your memories. I can't wait for the next journey. I love you.

Kathryn said...

What a beautiful way to record the memories of your home! Your next house will be a "home" before you know it. Good luck with the packing and move!

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