In the spring of 1990, my dad and I drove from Longview to Shreveport to shop for a car. We'd looked at Subarus and Nissans, but what I REALLY wanted was a Mitsubishi Galant. The car I'd been driving since I'd gotten my driver's license had been purchased, barely used. It was a 1984 Buick Skyhawk, and I loved it to death. But I'd put a ton of miles on it driving around endlessly in high school for lack of anything better to do and then, when I'd started college, making the frequent 500+ mile round trip to and from Austin. It was time to trade her in.
My dad, not known for his soft-and-fuzzy qualities nor his love of salesmen, made me cringe throughout the negotiation process with the dealer. I'd never been a part of anything quite like the car buying process, and the whole thing just made me want to crawl under the floor. We got practically nothing for my road-weary coupe with more than 100-thousand miles on it, but when it was all said and done, we drove off the lot in a brand new, badassed 1990 Mitsubishi Galant LS, with cruise control, a sunroof, and--most important to me at the time--a bitchin' stereo system. I was in heaven.
But as we pulled away from the dealership, I saw my little Skyhawk, sitting there looking kind of...I don't know...saddish, and it made me feel like I was leaving an old, fun and reliable friend behind for the exciting new friend who'd just moved to town and had nicer clothes and better hair. I was flooded with memories of all the fun that my friends and me had in that little white coupe, despite its complete absence of any bells and/or whistles. And yes, I started to cry a bit until we got on the highway and my dad urged me to, "Punch it" so we could see what kind of pick up the new car really had.
Tonight will be the last night I spend in this house. My starter home. The place where I've lived while so many things--good, great, and lousy--have happened along the way. The place that I bought all by myself as a single mother, even though the concept of being a homeowner and understanding terms like "escrow" and "homestead exemption" were terrifying to me. The place where I have watch The Geej graduate from a crib to a toddler bed to her current big-girl bed. The place where I threw a surprise 60th birthday party for my mom and hosted Thanksgiving dinners for friends and family. The place where I first got to play Santa and the Tooth Fairy. The place I was living when BH and I reconnected, fell in love and got married. The place where we blended our families and our lives but that always felt more like "my" house than "our" house.
We are moving to a nicer, more family-friendly neighborhood with better schools and neighborhood "amenities." A place where we'll watch our kids grow in to teenagers and eventually leave the nest. A place that is finally and truly ours together. It's something we're all psyched about and have been focused on making happen for some time now. But there's still that weird feeling of leaving behind something that you've loved for years for this newer, sexier opportunity. Although I completely understand that buying our current house when I did and for what I paid for it, and then caring for it like BH and I have for the past (nearly) seven years is what has put us in a position to make this move, it still feels vaguely disloyal to leave this place behind. The (single) guy who is buying this house seemed really nice and genuinely excited about this place when we met him at the closing. He's currently living in a nearby apartment, and so this will be his starter home too. I'm happy for him and hope he takes good care of it and creates a thousand happy memories here.