My first goodbye

I think we bought a mythical car.

Because my husband is a responsible, shrewd consumer, we have spent that past month trying to get our hands on a Mazda 5. We’ve got cash, but only enough to get one with low (er) mileage from an auction.

Even with all his resources these babies are impossible to find, but last Monday we finally got lucky. A fellow in our ward helped us out and we slapped down cash on a 2007 with 62,000 miles on it parked somewhere in Dallas, Texas. It was, unfortunately, the ugliest color in the world (dark gray) and did have higher mileage than we wanted, but it was the right price so the deal was done.

The car was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday. We’ve been borrowing a car for a month now and the very thought of once again cruising around on my own four wheels has made me giddier than a school girl on opiates.

The driver left early Tuesday morning. By ten am, we got the first bad call.

“There’s something wrong with the transmission,” he said. “We’re turning it around and sending it back.” Talk about crushing. We leave on vacation tomorrow and WE MUST HAVE A CAR. I really don’t want to try to hitch hike with four small kids and a car topper.

“But,” he said, “I found one in LA. It’s a 2006 and only has 50k. We can have it to you by Friday morning. Oh,” he added, “it’s navy blue.”

BYU blue? Low (er) mileage? Gotta love those car angels giving us a helping hand. Thank goodness for faulty transmissions.


We were supposed to pick up the car yesterday. By this afternoon it still hadn’t arrived. It is now 9:30 at night and we haven’t heard a word.

We’re scheduled to leave tomorrow at 6:00 am and I have decided that there is, quite simply, no car. I am past patient, more frustrated than a nine month old baby who can’t crawl, and emotionally overloaded.

What it comes down to is this. Tonight is the last night my family will spend in this house. We have lived here for four and a half years, longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere in my married life. As of tomorrow morning, all the plates will begin to shift. Life is never going to look like this picture again.

No more leaving the hall light on for Junie, no more sticky front door handle, no more watching my children playing outside in the neighbor’s yard. I will never see my tulips bloom, never watch the snow fall outside my upstairs windows, and I’ll never sit upstairs and listen to the renters play video games so loud the floor shakes.

I have been avoiding feeling these feelings for the past week. Just writing it out loud makes my throat lumpy and my heart tight. This is the only home my children know, and while the next one is going to be awesome, I feel like tonight I’m sitting in my past. It’s already over, no more memories to make.

I guess my obsession with the car is really just misplaced emotions. I wish it was here and we were gone and moved and away so I could busy myself with the chaos of crazy German adjustments, not the quiet stillness of goodbyes.

Tonight is my first goodbye. So goodbye, you wonderful house you. I have loved you for your flooring and your windows and your warmth. My children call you home, and we will remember you as a place where good things happened. Hopefully we’ll leave plenty of love in the air for the next family.

I think this goodbye crap is going to be harder than I thought.


  1. Suzanne says:

    Okay, my throat got lumpy just reading this and I’ve never been within 100 miles of your house. I haven’t done it, but I imagine it would be very hard to leave the house your babies know as home. If you weren’t a little sad, it wouldn’t say much about the years you’ve spent there. Sad to leave means you were happy to be there. Hope your car gets there soon.

  2. Reading this almost makes me tear up! Don’t have a heart attack. I said almost. I am going to miss you!

  3. Leaving is hard. I wish you good luck on your new adventure though!!

    Tell us about the car!

  4. Happy Travels, Annie. When it’s hard to say goodbye, it means you lived life right there. You’ll do it again everywhere you land.

  5. So sorry the car thing has been a headache. That stinks. And saying goodbye is rough, whether it is to people or a place, or both. I am sure there will be a great spirit of love and hope left behind fir the new people. We live in a 70-year old house and often I think I can feel each past dweller. We are energy. And though I have only spent a couple of hours with you (and your baby girl), I could feel your great enthusiasm and optimism. Best of luck on your new adventure. I look forward to reading all about it. 🙂

  6. *sigh* That brought a tear to my eye too.
    That vacation you be heading for better be to WA. Because I have been waiting to hear the news you all are in town. Love you and YEAH to the BYU God (s?) for the new color.

  7. I saw a cute way to keep track of the homes your family lives in by framing a key to the house and writing the address under it. You can add to the frame as you move around. So there, you don’t have to say goodbye to one key. Feel better now, right? 😉

  8. We moved a week ago and the goodbye crap didn’t hit until after we were completely out and into a temp rental and I miscooked rice ON THE STOVE four days in a row because all my oatmeal got put in storage along with my microwave rice cooker. It gets better. Even if I did have my rice cooker I didn’t have a microwave and the one bucket of oatmeal i did have was just sitting in my kitchen mocking me since my bucket opener was also in storage.

    So misplaces emotions? I got plenty of them. The only thing that keeps me sane is the faith that we will find another house we love. Soonish. (we sold the house we’ve loved for 11 years and have been looking for 2.5 months for a new one)

    I hope you get a car soon.

    (too involved a post for a stalker?)

    • annie valentine says:

      Shelane, I am one month behind you. I will probably just copy and paste your comment into my blog when we get to our temporary housing in Germany.

  9. When we left our home in IL to drive to the desert, I sent my family on to the hotel so I could say good-bye to my home– Alone.

    I walked through every, empty room remembering all the wonderful, and not so wonderful things that had happened in them and I cried like a baby.

    It was our first home, our first dog, our first pool. It was where I brought my babies home. It was where I learned to love, serve and BE. I needed time to say good-bye to this place that had helped to shape and mold my little family. I lovingly swept my floors and when I closed the doors for the last time, I actually said out loud “Good Bye. I have loved you more than you know. Thank you for keeping us warm and safe.” And then I blew a kiss to my home that I knew I would never see again.

    Painful good-byes mean that you loved fully and completely. You can do this because you are strong and you were made to do hard things.

  10. boy did you call it: goodbyes = crap! seriously my least fave things in life. i wasn’t built for letting go. that was so very evident the past couple of weeks with my grandma’s passing. add to that my hatred for packing & moving, and i can totally understand how you feel. best of wishes to you, AND i’m a little jealous on the car front. i’ve been feigning for a mazda 3 for y-ears! they are sooo hard to come by. ::sigh:: hopefully the car sitch works out quickly. can’t wait to hear how it all comes together. much love and many of the best wishes to you, my friend! ::hugs::

  11. Camille says:

    I don’t know what to write! I wish I was better with words. I hope everything goes more smoothly from here on out.

  12. I am sure that saying goodbye is hard! I have never moved outside of a 20 mile radius of where I now live…EVER! I certainly don’t know how that feels, but the thought of it through your words makes me kinda sad for you. Okay enough of that….WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE CAR?!!!

  13. Tiffany says:

    Can you tell at all that I’m in denial you really are moving away, forever. I think it’s to protect myself. That entry just made my heart race and my throat tighten too it’s real. You are leaving. I’m so sad. That has been a wonderful home with lots of memories for me too. I love you house. Thanks for being so good to my family.


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