Is it weird to thank a house? (asking for a friend)
I’ve already moved more times than I ever imagined I would. That said, I never really set a goal for minimizing or maximizing that number, but I definitely feel like I play for team nomad. I left home (Montreal) to pursue a job opportunity (Toronto). I never really had a plan per se, but always assumed I’d move back “home”. There was no when or even why – I just knew it was just going to happen – at some point. Time flies, one thing leads to another and well, here I still am. For now. Some life changes seem bigger than others. When our Mom passed away, our Dad was left to manage the family home on his own – in what now seems like a mansion. It had already been feeling like a little too much space for just the two of them, but now he looked a bit lost inside of all that house. Not to mention even empty spaces require upkeep – and that’s no joke. So, when the time felt right for him, he set about preparing to downsize. This is a daunting task at the best of times let alone amidst a global pandemic. But people can accomplish great things even when the odds are stacked against them. We all did our best to lend a hand, but he definitely did all the heavy lifting – and did an amazing job of it too! He marveled at how quickly things disappeared once he curbed them – sometimes before he had made it back inside the house. They say one person’s trash is another’s treasure. One of these purge days saw him place an old mandolin (lute) on top of the bin ready for pickup on garbage day. It held all kinds of fond memories but it would require some extensive repair and, besides, who would want to come by during a public health lockdown to take it? The truck pulled up and out popped the driver who obviously saw something pretty special. He gently placed it inside his cab and then proceeded to haul the actual trash into his truck and continue on his way. Watching from the window, our Father delighted in knowing that this old heirloom just got a new lease on life. How great is that?!
I can honestly say I have loved and appreciated every place I’ve ever lived. It has nothing to do with how fancy or modest it was or even how long I lived there. It’s also not because all the memories I have are happy ones. I just get deeply attached to my personal space and leaving it is always hard on me. I joke that I always leave a little piece of myself behind so eventually there may not be anything left of me to move! But, make no mistake, the attachment is very real. Whenever I’ve moved, I need to do a little walk through of the space before I actually leave it for good. It’s difficult to describe the feeling I get when I do this. I used to be quite shy about explaining this ritual. Now I just let everyone know that “I’m going to need a few minutes”. Sometimes there have been a few tears, sometimes a little laughter. Other times just silence – except for maybe the creaking of floorboards. These exits are in no way dramatic. They are simply part of a little ritual to help me say goodbye – but also to say Thank You. When our family home was sold last Summer, I knew what was coming. Despite having already left years ago, I was always coming back for regular visits so, had I ever really left? But this was going to be very different. So, before locking the door one last time, I let my Dad know I’d need a few minutes on my own to do my final walk through. I’m not sure if it’s because so much time had passed since I actually lived there, but I found myself saying less of the goodbye and much more of the thank you. Oh sure, I let tons of memories wash over me – most of them happy. Just like when I got to my old bedroom and the first thing I recalled was the smell of freshly washed flannel sheets right before I fell asleep during a Montreal snow storm. I would even go to bed early so I could bask in the residual heat from the dryer. And there it was – that powerful sense of genuine gratitude. Not just a “thanks” but a very genuine Thank You! Thank you for keeping us all safe and warm and for giving us space to celebrate, bicker and mourn.
I’ve always been fascinated with how people use their personal space. It’s a big part of why I became a Realtor. Many clients have expressed a lot of the sentiments I’m expressing here – in their own special way, of course. And I love that. I recall one client who insisted he never gets emotional about real estate – that it’s just a roof over his head. Which is why I could hardly contain myself when the threat of a competing offer saw him quickly change his tune. Red faced and frothing, he sputtered: “Farrell, this is obviously meant to be our home and I don’t intend to watch someone else’s kids playing in that treehouse. So, what’s it going to take?” Was that his spittle on my cheek or my own tears of joy? No matter – I couldn’t have been more proud.
So, does it seem odd or strange to thank a house? I certainly don’t think so. I can’t imagine leaving any home without doing so. Thank You House. Thank you Home. Thanks for everything.