Home is where the Legos are

More than three years ago John and I talked about selling our house. We met with an agent, looked at a dozen houses, tried to get our house in order, and gave up. The timing felt wrong.
So we stayed put, started the adoption process a second time, and brought Daniel home from China in August 2011.
Then earlier this year we started thinking again about selling. Trying to show a house with two preschoolers seemed…well…impossible. With Leo about to begin kindergarten, however, the timing for a move felt right.
We met with an agent, got the house in order, and listed it.
The very next day, the day that would have been my Grandma Rose’s 100th birthday, a couple came to see the house. When we got home, I noticed that there were soggy Cocoa Krispies coating the sink. That was a lost sale, I figured. Soggy cereal is one of the most repulsive things ever.
But the next day our agent called to tell us the couple had made an offer. We continued to show the house as we negotiated the contract. Then yesterday we handed the keys to two smiling strangers. And we talked about the one thing we knew we had in common—our home.
John told them about the gutter guard system, the Trolley Trail, and the items he had left in the shed.
I explained about the Brothers’ Tree John had planted with our boys in the backyard—and tried to recite the ages of all the children living nearby.
We didn’t tell them anything they wouldn’t figure out on their own. But we said it all anyway.
I hadn’t considered in advance what I might say to the family buying our house where we have made six years’ worth of memories. But Leo, practical and reflective as always, had given me a message for them.
“If you find any little Legos, can you please send them to us?” he asked. “And they might have fallen into the holes the air comes through (the vents), so you might find them there, too.”

Flickr Creative Commons/Slack Pics

The couple listened and smiled. They are parents, so I knew they would understand. But I would have said it even if they weren’t parents.
When we had a party last week to celebrate our home and talk about what we would miss, Leo was very clear with us about what mattered most.
He didn’t want to bring the frog doorbell.
He didn’t want to take pictures of special parts of the house.
He wanted to know that none of his Legos would be left behind. He wanted them to be placed in storage, where they would be safe until we move into our new home.
So we listened and reassured him that we would take care of everything. And we will.
Whew. You think selling a house is hard until you have to negotiate the care and storage of your son’s Legos.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.