Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers
The children have long since moved out of the house they grew up in, and the time has come for the house to welcome a new family with young children who will fill it again with happy noise and boundless energy.
We are cleaning out, packing up, preparing for this new thing in real estate (well, new since we bought our house twenty years ago) called “staging”. In the old days, we wandered through prospective houses that had most definitely not been staged, for there was abundant evidence of the owner’s personalities (what they read, where they’d travelled to, what their kids looked like), and the work we’d need to do (paint this, retile that, re-do the other). It was part of the experience of buying a house, and none of us seemed to mind it back then. Now, apparently, it’s a whole new ball game: all evidence of who has lived in the home (no matter for how long) must be erased. Now, apparently, we must prepare the house so that the new owners can envision themselves in your thoroughly neutralized, depersonalized house.
This seems easy to do when your broker first speaks of it, less so when they walk you room by room and list what must be removed/changed, and impossible when you begin to clear away, pack, and discard. Our kids have done their parts by stopping by to sift among their vast belongings and fill boxes labeled: PLEASE DO NOT THROW AWAY or TRASH! And now it’s our turn to do the same.
I am not enjoying the process: it is a LOT of work, and it is emotionally taxing. Every day brings some small moment when you are forced to contemplate the big change that such a move reveals – your children have really grown up and left the nest, that phase of your life is really over.
Yesterday, the painters removed the radiator in our youngest daughter’s room. Walking by, I could see every shade I had painted this room in the years she lived here: frothy pink, sunshine yellow, teal blue – her gradations of taste and sophistication. I remembered each color being proposed, the case she’d make for how necessary the new color was for her very existence, and her delight when she came back from school or a weekend sleepover to find her wish granted.
It was all so simple then, when your child was so easy to please. To paraphrase William Carlos Williams…
so much depended upon
to be open to a new shade