When we first bought our house, I was ready to birth my oldest son, and had just gotten married. Three huge events experienced within a twelve month period.
That is so me.
We needed a house fast. The small brick ranch was perfect. Five rooms. Cozy. Understated. It needed updates but it was all ours. Anyway, it was only for the first three years. Our starter house. We moved in and were happy.
Three years morphed into the five year plan when I got pregnant again. Jobs changed, we gained two dogs, and a friend moved into the basement. Crowded, yes. Full of love, yes. Our toddlers couldn’t toddle too far away because there was nowhere to go. Hide and go seek games were extra short, but they didn’t care. My little one was thrilled enough to cover his eyes, and within the magic of childhood, believed no one else could see him. There wasn’t stairs to run up or too much space between us, so nightmares and cries for mommy were quickly dealt with. We all watched television together and ate around the family table because there was nowhere else to go.
With ten years now looming before us, we are finally moving. The house is bigger, beautiful, happy. Ready to fill with new memories of our family. But as anything in life, moving forward is bittersweet. Will the past be forgotten and replaced by a new and shinier version? As my children grow, no matter how much I tell them not to, I will look behind me on this move and remember.
I will finally have my own dedicated office space. This amazes me. My current office is a spare bedroom holding a couch, my husband’s closet, endless clothes, and books. My Walmart desk looks like it’s exploded with clutter, dinged up, and scribbled on with endless markers. But even with my kids running behind me, jumping on the couch and interrupting me with endless requests, the work got done. The books were written. I may have stared at a wall but my scenery was my pictures and endless scrawled quotes with mementos that reminded me of who I am. When I hear writers talk about needing their perfect space I laugh out loud. A writer’s space is anywhere she can write. And this office taught me that.
My kids had to share a room. I decorated it with nursery rhymes: Humpty Dumpty, the cow who jumped over the moon, the little woman who lived in a shoe. All the furniture was borrowed from close friends, but my babies didn’t care. The memories of the children who came before guided us which was better than new. My kids learned to respect each other and share space because there was no other choice. The toys and stuffed animals exploded from every corner, but I loved it much better than clean lines and elegant furniture. As I leave, the wallpaper has been ripped, and the carpet damaged. But I smile every time I turn out the lights.
Our living room holds one special recliner that is dubbed “mommy’s chair.” I collapsed there for hours through two pregnancies. I fed them, rocked them, and soothed their tears. My youngest discovered a bottle of bright purple nail polish and decorated it right before Christmas holiday when I was about to have over a dozen people. It never came out. But I love that chair, and worry I will never bond with my new one in the same way.
As I look around the rooms, filled with boxes, my memories scattered throughout, I remember again that life is precious and every stage must be enjoyed. Savored. Good and bad. This little brick house holds my past. My children’s first steps. A shelter from the storm.
I’m homeward bound toward something shiny and new, but I will never forget where it all began.
Same thing with my writing. Each book is an individual experience – a journey never to be forgotten even as we move toward a brand new story.
I wish everyone a safe journey home.