Have You Said Goodbye to a Forever Home?

The forever home we left 5 years ago.

Five years ago this month the trucks rolled up our Long Grove driveway. First came the moving vans, separating our furniture into two collections, one group to be placed in storage while construction of our new home was being completed, the other batch to furnish our temporary rental. This was followed by the We’ll-Get-Your-Junk mobile, hauling off the leftovers; rejects that not even Goodwill wanted. We locked up and said goodbye to our “forever home.”

I don’t think the term “Forever Home” existed when we built the house in the early 1990s. We just knew we were set to put down roots and stay somewhere for a long, long, time. It’s not that we had been nomads previously, anything but, but this was where we wanted to raise our children, and where we would reside while life’s passages took hold.

Our kids were barely beyond the toddler stage when we moved in. Twenty-six years later, in our last family photograph at that house, our nuclear family was supplemented by a wife, a fiance, and our first two grandchildren. The photo was taken on a sunny August afternoon and I like to think all our dazzling smiles were thinking of the wonderful times in that house, as well as the future ahead.

That house saw so much. Celebrations–birthdays, anniversaries, proms, election victories. Tragedies–the deaths of my father and sister. An important victory–Barb’s success against melanoma. And more pets than I can count on one hand.

The house changed over time as well. A small addition for the sake of a big piano. A foosball table that migrated from our over-the-garage bonus room to a finally finished basement, where our offspring and their friends could hang out. A remodeled en-suite bathroom that we enjoyed; a remodeled kitchen that we never got the benefit of.

But I admit that I grew restless after twenty-five-plus years. I grew tired of running the same 5K routes. The long slog to and from the tollway became more than I was willing to endure on a daily commute. And our neighborhood friends were leaving for their own downsizers, or for a home in the permanent sun of Florida or Arizona.

If you are a long-time reader of this blog and its predecessor, you know the process of convincing Barb, finding/building a new home, and selling the old one, was complex and not always straightforward. But we persevered.

And now our “forever home” is five years in the rearview mirror. But like the sign says, “Memories in the mirror are closer than they seem“–and worth cherishing.”

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