March 17, 2017
To the new owners of this wonderful house:
Welcome to your new home! We hope that you will be as happy living here as the Pearl family has been. If you are even half as happy as we were, you will be very blessed indeed.
We moved into this house in December of 1990, when we had four young boys aged 7 to just shy of 3. Our fifth son was born in 1993, after we’d been living here for a few years, so this is the only home he has ever known. Our four oldest sons are now married with children of their own, and our youngest is an Army LT currently stationed overseas. (Those little boys who grew up here are men now who range in age from 33 down to 24—how did that happen?!—and we will soon have more than twice as many grandchildren as we have children!) This home has been like “true north” for us, a comforting and comfortable gathering spot for our family for more than 26 years, and it is with heavy hearts that we leave what we thought might be our “forever home.” If any of our grown sons had settled nearby, we undoubtedly would have stayed here.
But by saying all of this we don’t mean to make you feel sorry for us! Because we are moving to an area of VA that is near three of our married sons; and we are very excited about a future that includes spending way more time with them and their wives and children on a regular basis, while also being close enough to more easily give them any help and support they might need. So as hard as it is to say goodbye to [this town] and [our street address], which essentially brings an end to a beautiful, full chapter of our family’s history, we know that this is undoubtedly the right move for us. We will always cherish our memories of the times we spent here. And we feel confident that this home is going to be loved and enjoyed by your family as much as it was by ours.
Our youngest son once wrote an essay about this house, for a freshman English class at St. Thomas Aquinas (where all of our boys went to high school). Here is an excerpt from that essay, titled “A Hidden Gem”:
Driving down the street, there are pleasant houses on either side, all of them tucked behind trees and surrounded by forest, as if the woods were fighting violently to regain their lost territory. Though they look nice, keep going past these imposters. Keep going. Just a little further...There it is! My home.
It is the last house on the right; a big, white house with black shutters. It is a two story building with a large front yard, big enough to fit five rowdy boys who decided never to grow up. To common passers-by, it is just an ordinary house at the end of some street. And yes, like any home, it is where I sleep, it is where I eat, and it is where I live. But to me, it is so much more than just an inn or a breakfast nook.
It is a familiar face that says, "Hello there! How was your trip?" after I've traveled long distances; a life-long friend that is always there when I don't know where else to go. It is my playground, my home field advantage for all my backyard football games; where our family-famous Wiffle Ball homerun derbies are held. It is…where I learned about life, about the One who made me, and the One who sacrificed Himself for us.
This is where the seven Pearls live. And although there are nicer houses on our street, our house is a hidden gem, stowed away from the rest of the world. It is everything I want out of a house. Everything I need out of a home.
Our hope for you is that your son comes to feel the same way about this place as our boys did. May you have many years of health and happiness in this “hidden gem” we’ve called home.
With best wishes,
Our sons all have such fond memories of growing up in this house, as you can see by that heartfelt essay penned by my baby; and they know how much their mom and dad have loved it, too--mostly because it was the cozy nest where we nurtured them and watched them grow, where we lived through so many happy times with them. They all seem to be very sensitive to the fact that although we are excited about living closer to some of them, it is very difficult for us to cut our ties to this place. That's why we were especially touched by a Christmas gift that our second-oldest son and his wife had handcrafted for us through an Etsy shop. It is a miniature clay model of our house, attached to a porcelain platter, with the word "home" written on it. Here is a close-up picture of the model (when it was a work-in-progress), which the artisan shared on Instagram.
She even included a teeny version of the large metal star that has hung on our front door for many years. It's cream-colored with the words "Faith" and "Family" written on the edges of each of the star's points. (The two most important words, am I right?)
This old star is rather rusty now, and I almost flung it into the dumpster this morning. But then I just couldn't do it. Instead, I decided to repaint it with some of the leftover glossy Colonial red that we've used on our front door for the past 26-plus years. (Should I distress the finish or leave it like this? What do you think?)
This star is going to find a home in our new house in VA, and it will be a sweet reminder of the "hidden gem" where it used to hang, welcoming us home every time we turned into the driveway.