It was over 7 years ago when we first met. The soon-to-be-wife and I were spending the day meeting others like you; ones we found with the help of a local newspaper and a red pen. The plan had been to evaluate each of you objectively and on your own merits, having no emotional attachment whatsoever. It’s funny how plans can go awry. You were our first stop, and as it turned out, the only stop we needed to make that day. We fell in love with you and the possibilities that you presented. Your looks, your charm, it was all there. But more than anything, we immediately saw ourselves, and the family we soon hoped to become, laying down our roots within your walls.
Not long after, you were ours. Jen and I, with the help of our families, carried the possessions and memories that meant the most to each of us through your door, and with that, truly began our lives together. We made you our own, with help of a little paint, a hammer, and some nails, and you were more than accommodating. It must have been hard for you, having spent years watching another young couple grow into a family. The memories they made under your roof were special, not just to them, but to you too. You handled the transition with grace though, stepping back to allow us the space we needed to begin creating our own memories. We’ll always be indebted to you for that.
We brought home the first additions to our family just a few short months after we moved in. Two little puppies, Cody and Bailey, greeted you with several “accidents” during that first week or so but you never complained. In fact, throughout these seven and a half years, those puppies-turned-beasts have given you more than most your size could handle, yet you’ve always stood strong and I think they respect you for it.
We began our lives as Mr. and Mrs. Chaney in the late spring of our first year with you. I’ll never forget coming home from our honeymoon to your warm, inviting space; knowing that you were ours and that eventually our little family would grow with you. Our time together was not without its troubles, I think we can both agree on that. Within our first few years we were faced with basement flooding on more than one occasion, yet while I cursed you for your inabilities, you remained strong and supportive at your core.
In fact, you’ve supported the wife and I every minute of every day since we moved in. You’ve covered us with love during some of our toughest moments. We’ve walked through your door after the passing of family members. We’ve walked through your door after the loss of our unborn child. These times in our lives, the memories that hurt the most, were eased somehow, some way, by the four walls that we called home, and for that we are eternally grateful.
They say that when God closes a door, he opens a window. Well, you’ve certainly opened several windows for us throughout the years. The good times and great moments we’ve shared together far outweigh the trying ones. We’ve come home to you on three occasions with a new addition to our clan, and you’ve welcomed those little bundles of joy with open arms every time. We’ve turned your rooms (and closets) into nurseries, decorated your walls with bright colors and stickers, all in the name of love for our children. You have accommodated every birthday for both Iz and The Jakester, giving us the opportunity to share those special days with our family and friends. Our children are, in essence, your children as well, and I’m proud to share that distinction with you.
You’ve seen your share of owners and with age brings wisdom, so I’m quite sure you know what’s coming next. Before the month is out, we will be turning you over to a new young couple, anxious to begin their lives together with you. I think you are going to like them, they remind me of Jen and I when we met you all those years ago. When they visited you for the first time, several months ago, I saw that look in their eyes. The one that says, “I can see us living here, starting a family here, enjoying our lives here.” I saw it because it’s the same look I had seven years ago. You will be great for them…and they’ll be great for you too.
Leaving you will be one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. We’ve spent our entire married life within your walls. We’ve brought all three of our children home to live within your walls. You are a part of who we have become, and that will never change, no matter where we go. But in addition to our lives within your walls, leaving will be hard because of those that we care about just outside your walls.
Not long after we claimed you for ourselves, a high school friend of Jen’s moved in with her husband next door. In the six years since, we’ve spent as much time together as we have apart. We’ve laughed together, cried together, and started families together. We’ve loved our homes and cursed our homes together. Our relationship with the people we call neighbors has grown so much over the years, that when Matthew was born this past August, we chose them as his Godparents. But I don’t have to tell you all of this, you already know. After all, they are practically your family too.
The decision to leave you has been one that we’ve agonized over for some time. Our brains told us it was the right move, but our hearts haven’t been willing to agree. But the time has come for our family to spread our wings. You’ve given all that you could to us, and we appreciate it more than you’ll ever know. I’m confident that the people we’ve chosen for you will treat you just as well as you’ve treated us. We were a chapter in each other’s lives and it’s time to turn the page, but we’ll never forget you…I hope you won’t forget us.
Jim, Jen, Izzy, Jake, Matt, Cody, and Bailey