My kid is buying a house today. On Monday, he asked if Dave and I were planning to go to the closing with him and his girlfriend.
“That’s Sandy’s job,” I said. Sandy has been our realtor so long, we think of her more as a friend.
He breathed a sigh of relief.
“What?” I asked.
“Well, we just wanted to do it on our own, you know, like adults.”
“Of course,” I said, and I also pointed out that I couldn’t have gone anyway because my therapy dog and I have a standing commitment at an elementary school on Thursday afternoons, and Dave and I would never volunteer to drive north of the river unless it was absolutely necessary.
But here’s the truth. Every time I think about him sitting at that conference table, I start crying. It’s been a decade since he’s lived with us, but as he’s moved from apartment to apartment, he’s continued to use our address as his permanent address. Every time I find a TxTag statement or a recall notice on his car in our mailbox, I’ve been able to maintain the illusion that my house is still his home. Even if he’s made a life with a woman he loves in another place, my house is still his home.
So today that changes. This afternoon he and his girlfriend will sign the papers, and the closer will hand them the keys. They’ll drive to their new house and pull the car into the driveway. They’ll open the front door and be overtaken by the smell of fresh paint. They’ll kick off their shoes and walk through the rooms holding hands and saying to each other, “This is ours. All ours.” I know because I did that myself once upon a time.
And from now on, when he hears the word “home,” he’ll think of the backyard where the grass has gotten a little too long and needs mowing. He’ll think of the kitchen where his girlfriend checks on cookies baking in the oven and the back porch where his dogs sun themselves. He’ll never again think of my house as his home.
Of course, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Yet the tears keep coming.