I Had the Buyers of My House Over for Dinner — And It Was Emotional
Let me tell you a love story with a house at the center of it.
When I realized that my family and I needed to move, the idea came to me fully formed. It was whole and hard, like a pearl I didn’t want, discovered in an oyster I didn’t know I had. For over a year, we explored the idea, fought against it, and ultimately accepted that a fresh start somewhere new was the best thing we could do for our family.
The hardest part, besides, of course, saying goodbye to the people we’d come to love in Tallahassee, was leaving our house. Leaving a house is an emotional milestone for many people, I know, but we’d built this house over a decade earlier. We pressed our young family’s handprints into the driveway cement as it was drying. Then we added an addition to the house, right before the pandemic, and pressed our fully formed family’s handprints into the cement of the new back porch.
It was the house I brought three of my babies home to, where first steps were taken, vegetable gardens were tended, and where we watched the oak tree sentries in the front yard grow along with our children. It kept us safe during a global pandemic, and it was a loyal haven during our own personal storms.
And we had to give it up. I wrestled with this and shed many tears as I detached myself from all the ways the house itself had come to mean “home.” We ended up buying a house in Knoxville before selling our Florida home. This helped immensely, because I could start to imagine a new scene for our family life.
The for sale sign went up and we hightailed it out of town so we wouldn’t have to worry about keeping the house perfect during showings. Within a day, we got two strong offers. Then the real beauty started to unfold.
Our agent forwarded me a note from the buyers. One of them wrote that she’d been “in awe and overwhelmed with joy and gratitude all day.” She shared that she’d dreamed and prayed for years of having a home minutes from friends and family. (We learned later that the buyers were moving back to where one of them had grown up after living overseas for years.) The note ended with the buyers saying they looked forward to thanking us in person.
My grip on my house loosened and I was full of peace. I knew that our home was not just liked, but loved. That it meant something more than just a nice place to live to the people who would inhabit it next.
But the story didn’t end there.
When we signed our closing papers, we saw the buyers and went in to meet them. The deep connection between us was palpable. We hugged and I could hardly talk through the thickness in my throat. I know it’s unusual for the buyers and sellers to even meet, but we were drawn to each other. And the buyers were going to be our landlords for two months on top of it!
During these months, we invited the new owners over for dinner. People were surprised by this. But it felt right to all of us and we went along with it. There was even more opening of hearts — things that, honestly, feel too sacred to share here and with the world.
Houses are so much more than sticks and bricks and mortar. They’re the intimate settings of our very lives, and the people who live in the same house through the years are bound together in ways that usually remain a mystery. In our case, we treasure the honor of knowing the people who have continued the line of life in our beloved old house.