Love it or loathe it, the recent Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler film Sisters was a comedy about grown women coming to terms with the sale of their family home.
I might have laughed along in the cinema, but the film cut close to the bone for my sister and I as its release coincided with our parents announcing their decision to sell up and move on.
We have spent a lot of time talking, texting and reflecting on what it means for us as adults with families of our own, to say farewell to our childhood home.
Although it was something we both knew would happen sooner or later, we still felt a bit blindsided when mum and dad put the house on the market and photos of our old home began to appear on various real estate websites. It felt unreal and neither of us – grown women in our thirties – felt ready to let it go.
On a rational level we are both excited for my parents as they start their retirement in a new house in a new town. On another altogether more child-like level, we are still in denial that we won’t be having any more Christmases under its very familiar roof.
My childhood home has history, character and charm and even though I now live many miles away, I can summon it in my head as easily as if I were standing right beside it. The 21 years I spent growing up surrounded and protected by its old uneven walls, were good ones, and as much as you can love a pile of bricks, I love that house.
Sometimes when I lie in bed I visualise walking down its twisty staircase or up the path to the front door. I can hear its creaks and groans in the wind. I know which exact floorboards not to step on at night. I know the perfect amount of pressure needed to open the latched door and the familiar smell of the upstairs on a summer’s day.
Each room in that house contains a vivid collection of memories. Midnight feasts with friends, playing Barbie with my sister, visits from much loved grandparents, Sunday dinners with mum and dad, sneaky kisses from boyfriends, parties, the night before my wedding and more recently, my son toddling around the garden.
As silly as it sounds, I took time and said my official goodbyes to the house. I took a few quiet moments to touch the walls in different rooms and had a good old cry. It was the end of an era and while it is ‘just a building’; it was my home for majority of my life.
The house I live in with my husband and son is now my one and only home. I hope that in years from now when we move into our flashy retirement pad, we all shed as many tears of joy for all the great fun we had here – I hope I can be that lucky twice.
Did you have a family home for a long time?