Yesterday keys exchanged hands and now someone else calls the place his own. As I surveyed the property of my childhood home — the home my mother lived in for more than 55 years — one last time it was surprising to feel not so much sadness and loss but rather relief. Weeds were everywhere and trees so overgrown as to block out views of the house and other buildings from the road. The house itself, badly in need of some tender loving care, looked tired and forlorn. Over the years it has just gotten too much for Mom to keep up. She said the work was more than she could handle. Knowing she couldn’t do the work herself and seeing how much needed to be done was bringing her down. Mom loves to tinker, to keep busy. She took pride in her gardens and her many bird feeders. These past few years, due to recent health problems and getting older, she was able to devote less and less time to her passions and now the new owner, a retired single gentlemen in his fifties, has his work cut out for him. Hopefully curb appeal is as important to him as it was to my mother and he’ll restore the place to its former glory.

For Mom there was also the expense of keeping the old homestead running – the electric and heating bills for both her house and the apartments was astronomical compared to what they’ll run in the new place. She had to hire out to help with the mowing and repairs and snow removal and that only added to her expenses. Property taxes were another consideration. There was also the isolation she felt at times being out there alone, especially in the winter months when an ill-timed blizzard could make her a prisoner in her own home for days on end. Yes. The time had come for her to leave. Once she made that decision the other pieces quickly fell into place.

The new house is smaller and newer and yet it has five bedrooms, two of which are actually quite small. Three bedrooms are on the main level and two are in the finished basement. There is also a full bath in the basement and plenty of room for staging family get-togethers at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Four of us girls live out of town and the other two girls live not too far from Mom so the bedrooms will work quite well for our needs.   She has a nice open kitchen with a breakfast bar, a place to set up her sewing room, a nice-sized patio and best of all closer proximity to all her friends. She is very excited about her new digs and all of us girls are thrilled for her. My mother is a busy woman. Not only does she have a new house now to settle in to but she leaves for Ireland in a week! You’re doing it right Mom. You’re doing it right!