Memories in the mess
by Holly Varni
March 11, 2015
Home sweet home, wooden text on vintage board background with co

It’s an interesting thing to try to sell your home. There’s a process. I did the obvious and cleaned out the closets, removed clutter, tidied up until everything looked spacious and sparkly.

Then our realtor came through with a different pair of eyes. Ones that were not blinded by the nostalgia of everything.

“What’s that?” he asked, looking at a small hole in the wall. “Oh, the boys did that with a Nerf sword during one of their great battles.”

“What’s that?” he asked, staring at a place on the carpet. “Oh, that’s where the boys melted Silly Putty. I know its glittery and obvious, we have always put the corner of their Thomas the Train table over it to hide it.”

Room by room, we went through the house and he managed to see everything that we had become accustomed to. He had a long list of “flaws” that needed to be fixed, damage that Tonka trucks had done through the years. Our boys played hard and took no prisoners.

What transpired after was like a scene from Wreck-it-Ralph. Painters and handyman invaded our home and erased any tracings that three boys lived here. At first, we all marveled at the beauty of our home. My husband was in awe of the transformation. “It doesn’t even look like kids live here!” he exclaimed.

Soon after my excitement of everything looking so new and shiny, something happened… I became sad for what was being erased. Memories. Precious years of babies, toddlers, were gone. My boys are 11, 13 and 15. Too old for all the toys that loitered our house, but even they were sad to see the Silly Putty carpet removed and replaced.

As the house was being painted and packed, they would come with another story of what happened within these well-used walls. The wrestling and Nerf wars, and the endless games of hide and seek, the building and destruction of blocks, Tinker toys and Legos.

Standing in my perfectly clean house with the perfect walls, void of pictures and crayon marks made me emotional. I’m all for moving ahead, looking to the future, but for a moment, I will mourn a time that will never be again.

It’s in the messes that we make memories. The fun was in the flaws.

Home is where life happens and impressions are made, physically and emotionally. The stain on the carpet where my middle son threw-up pink Tylenol when he had the flu, I really only remember wrapping him in clean blankets and my husband holding him, both of us feeling so sorry for the little guy.

Within every stain, dent, hole, scratch, smudge and fingerprint…life happened. Our house is worn, much like we all are. None of us get through life unscathed. Some scars are more obvious than others. Regardless, they are still there.

I think when we reflect on our life, it’s those markings that leave a true impression, that tell us that we lived.

On the outside, everything has been glossed over and made new for the next family. I’m leaving a home that held so much for so long.

The good thing is, I’m taking what’s important.

The life, laughter, struggles and growth will always be with me.