I adore them, of course, and I am so very happy to see them happy.
Of course, we're all friends on Facebook, Twitter, and I'm not sure where else. I see the pictures and status updates, and comments from their friends and family, as they post about their renovation efforts. I even helped them move some stuff into the house (though I stopped short of carrying boxes of hardwood flooring).
The other day, a mutual friend asked how I was handling that - seeing a complete dismantle of the house I called home for so long. Even X asked how I would ever be able to go back, and see how the work and memories I made have been changed.
I'll admit - at first it was strange. It felt weird, seeing pictures of my house on someone else's timeline, labeled "before." I thought back to when X and I moved in, and took the same photos (in the BF - Before Facebook - era). Except, we called them "after."
But the truth is - the house hadn't been my "home" for a long time. I bought it as one half of a couple, many years ago. The projects and renovations we did were done as a team. Sure, I bought the house after the divorce, and it was mine. Yes, I continued to make memories - Chrissy and her kids lived there for a while, there were parties and house guests and little changes.
But the house was never what I imagined back in 2003, when I was full of ideas and hope for what we could make of it. That all stopped the day X left. That was the day the house stopped being my home.
There is an episode of How I Met Your Mother in which Ted gives up his long-time apartment. In the letter he writes to his friends, he says he thought the apartment had been haunted by memories of a love he lost, but he finally realized that it was really haunted by him. He had stopped living and was standing still in time, and the apartment was keeping him from moving on.
At some point, the house did the same for me. It allowed me to stay stuck in a place where I didn't have to deal with the reality that my life is different - and it was time to move on. The house was my excuse, my refuge from the scariest thing we all face now and then.
The truth is, home is a fluid concept. When we're young, it's with our parents. At some point, it becomes that first apartment where we spread our wings for the first time. Eventually, if we're lucky, it becomes that house we buy right when we think we're settling down.
It'd be nice if that was the last home for everyone. For some, it will be, and I think that's simply wonderful.
For me, home has changed again. I'm grateful that I owned a house, and saw some of those hopes and dreams come true.
I'm also grateful that I was able to own the home on my own for a bit, that it was there to help my friends when needed, and to shelter me while I healed.
Now I'm grateful it will be there for someone else's hopes and dreams - and I actually feel quite honored I'll get to witness those dreams come true.
After years of haunting, I'm finally finding my new home - and my after has become someone else's before.
*Make sure to visit their sites for pictures of the renovations and other musings on life, and home ownership.