Moving on

I was happy in this house. Not crazy, delirious happy, but happy. I wasn’t sure about it at first – the creaking floors, the yellow walls, the old doors and glass door handles, the wild backyard – it all seemed very foreign. It was clearly meant and built for someone else. I wasn’t sure how it could ever feel like home.

But eventually, room-by-room, it did. It’s where I learned to scrape paint chips off the wood floors. It’s where I learned not to be afraid of the basement. It’s where I first sat in front of a working fireplace on a cold winter’s evening. It’s where I learned to negotiate with painters, gardeners, plumbers.  It’s where I first raked leaves, shoveled snow, mowed grass, clipped rose bushes, grew tomatoes. It’s where I really became a wife. It’s where we fought and laughed and got tipsy on Christmas Eve, and celebrated birthdays. It’s where we found comfort in snow storms, in grief, in the quiet darkness of our bedroom. It’s where I became a mother after a night spent in our comfy armchair in the living room, surrounded by pillows, like some kind of an animal building a nest for her baby.

When we bought this house we once ran into the previous owner and she was happy to hear that a young couple was moving in. “This house always needed a young family,” she said. I wasn’t sure what that meant. But as Sam slowly discovered the house it all became clear. Just like he transformed us into a family, he also transformed this place into a home – first with his newborn baby smells and sounds, then with his toys, then with his small body discovering the space around him.

Suddenly our fireplace was a fire station dispatch center. Our living room was a pirate ship. The closet in the dining room the best hiding place for treasure – and for pirates. The kitchen counter was the best place to eat a snack while I cooked. The bathtub was the bottom of the ocean full of exotic fish. Our bedroom was a movie theater with popcorn and ice cream and snuggles.

It’s our last night here and it’s hard to imagine that tomorrow the messiness of our lives will be neatly packed in boxes, ready to move to some new space – still cold, unlived-in, unfamiliar, its beige walls full of hope and expectation.

Leaving the familiar warmth of our house is still unimaginable, even though it’s going to happen in less than 24 hours. I comfort myself with the knowledge that we’ve done this before – made a house into a home and made a life together in it. We can do this again, right?

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4 thoughts on “Moving on

  1. You can, and will, do it again. But you’ll sure be missed. I’ve been in denial about it, but realizing today was our last pre-move day together at work made me very sad. Good luck on this adventure, and come back soon! xo

  2. I had the same experience! It was me and my husband’s first house, i “suffered” while he installed hardwood floors, destroyed the kitchen, demolished the deck. He was very into DYI, and no question he was damn good and made the house lovely. But, he’s a procrastinator, so it makes projects feel like a situation set up for me to have to nag, which i hate doing. Then our two boys were born and brought up in that house My God, the memories…It was also the last house I would see my father alive in, and it was the house where I screamed and cried while he went from hospital to nursing home to hospital to his apartment to hospital to nursing home …my oldest son was 2. And I worked full time as a research assistant. How?? I didn’t think I wanted another child, I had such a hard time with my first…But as my dad lay dying in his hospital bed, unconscious from the pain medications, I took his hand and told him we were planning to have another baby, a child I knew he would never meet, All of those memories are in that house. My second child was born (i have a Sam too), and soon afterwards I was suffering from pain and fatigue so debilitating…it turned out to be fibromyalgia. So many trials and tests of strength and love in that house. But I knew we needed to move on, it was time to move on and leave the suffering and the joy behind.

    When we moved, it was about two years in the new house in another state when I realized that this house did not feel like home. It wasn’t “mine”. It still had all the previous owner’s painted walls and I hadn’t the time or strength to add personal touches. Two boys, five years apart, and a full time job, and fibromyalgia…I was sleeping and eating in this house, but it wasn’t my HOME. Last year I stopped working and now I can do little things here and there to try to make this a home, including creating memories that will make this house nostalgic just as our first house did.

    so tired, must cut off without wrapping this comment up nicely. I accept that…

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