What Took You So Long?

I’m putting myself out there.

I’ve gotten all gussied up.

Now, I just sit back and wait for my string of suitors.

They visit. They scrutinize me.

 

With each one, I get my hopes up. Maybe this will be The One!

I put my best foot forward. They peruse. They pass judgment. 

I’m nice enough, but not for them.

Or (ouch! this one stings!) I’m just not up to snuff

I’ve begun to suspend my hope–not give up on it, mind you, but hold my hope until The One comes along.

As for the rest–I’m not worth it to them, and I can’t take it personally. I’m desperate, though, so I’m subject to their opinions.

Someday, though, there’ll be The One. So I don’t give up hope; I just don’t give it away too easily.

I am jaded, but I am playing the game.

What game, you may ask?

No, I’m not dating.

I’m selling my house.

I wasn’t expecting to sell my house. I just dipped a toe in the water to see what was out there and what I’d have to do to sell mine. And then I stumbled upon this beautiful house, move-in ready, and there I was, signing a contract, sitting down with the loan officer to see how I could carry two mortgages temporarily, etc.

I can’t explain what pushed me over the edge.

Maybe it was the day last month I visited a house that was already under contract, and I saw the light stream through the windows, and I was assured that the world–nay, even this town–has so many more possibilities than my sad brain knew.

Maybe it was the day that I threw out the LL Bean rug that I’d bought when I fixed up the family room. I’d splurged on it with a vision of the kids tucked in there, safe and warm. Ends up that this was the dog poop rug. They’d poop (and pee?) on it, in spurts, but with regularity when they were on a spurt. I’d get the carpet cleaner out, air it out, apply baking soda, more cleaning, plop the dehumidifier on it. It spent the winter in the basement. I brought it back in and one night, at 2am, the dogs must have been like, ‘Oh, there you are!” I cleaned up the poop, did a perfunctory cleaning, then rolled it up and donated it. 

That’s when I knew that I need to move on, not just from my husband’s death, but from these past two years. I don’t regret what I’ve done for my kids. I think that I’ve held us up in a really difficult situation. But this transitional period is not sustainable. We need to do things differently now. I’ve shepherded them through this trauma. I’ve given everything I had. It’s not enough. I could carry them through the trauma and grieving, but there’s nothing I can do to fix their lives. That’s their respective jobs. I’m not giving up on the kids, of course, but it’s time for us to live like a widow and two blossoming human beings, instead of as a family in crisis. It’s time. For what, I don’t know. But it’s time for a change.

So I put a contract on a new house and put my house on the market. You think that was a metaphor for dating above? It isn’t. Every time a buyer or agent comes through this house, I feel scrutinized and judged. This house is a testament to our downward spiral. When someone gets nitpicky, I feel like they seeing right into the failure of our lives. The molding that the dogs scratched. The subpar parking situation that I put up with, because I’ve always settled for less and now I’m seeing that other people expect a lot more in life. I am internalizing a business transaction. I know this is ridiculous, but I can’t deny those feelings.  I’m so vulnerable, and these house showings are excruciating–both practically and emotionally–but I’m doing them anyway because that’s how much I want to get out of this house.

That feeling came upon me suddenly, with an urgency that surprised me. But there I was, one moment, and there I was the next, with an urge to get out of this house at, literally, any cost. Even if I have to carry two mortgages (although the credit union finagled a little arrangement where it’s not as bad as all that). Even if I put the house on at the end of the selling season in a college town. As financially irrational as it is, as bad as the timing is, this is a decision that feels right.

I tell this to the people that love me, almost apologizing for putting myself at financial risk, but what I see in their eyes is a furrowed brow and a gleam of pleasure in their eyes, because what every single one of them is not saying out loud is,

“Finally! What took you so long?”

They never said a thing, all this time. They hoped I’d get out of here, but they were just waiting for me, patiently. My current house will sell, not soon enough for me, but eventually. But what they are telling me is that this–this decision, this feeling of wanting more, this movement toward the light–is worth any risk. The risk itself is probably good in itself. It has me nervous. It keeps me on my toes. It pushes me out of my comfort level. And as scary as all this is for me, my interlocutors affirm that it’s all good.

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