I meant to post this on the one year anniversary of us moving into our new house. But, that was December 20th. And, we all know how that story goes. It’s a magical and wonderful and exhausting time of the year. I love the Christmas season. I do. But, it can be A LOT. And, so, I love a fresh New Year too. But, that fresh, first week into the new year brought a two hour school delay for my littles, followed by a two hour early release, followed by two snow days, followed by a nasty sinus infection, followed by more snow days. So, yeah, that all sounds about right … And, here we are … on a random day toward the end of January that holds no significance. But. That’s okay. Because that’s usually just exactly when you catch yourself flooded for some strange reason, by memories, that slam into you like a heavy weight. If you’re like me, they leave you teary and uncertain about how on earth time slipped away so quickly … just before you really had the chance to be as fully present as you meant to be …
When we moved out of our first home, I needed to give it a proper goodbye. My way. Now, if you know me really well OR if you’ve ever been an ex-boyfriend of mine (which none of you have … Bless) then you already know … a “proper goodbye” means a good old-fashioned letter. I’m probably the only one snickering over this. Okkaay. Moving on …
My Proper Goodbye —
It’s hard, sometimes, to say goodbye to a house. Especially one that grew close to your heart in ways you never knew a house could …
This little house – it felt so big to us when we first moved in. We were fresh out of an apartment in Nashville. Married only 7 months. Just the two of us. So excited and proud of ourselves. Whole entire rooms sat empty for months (years). I can hardly imagine it now. But, we didn’t come with a lot of stuff. It hadn’t accumulated at that point. And, we certainly didn’t have the money to actually buy new furniture. But, I don’t remember that even being a thing. We were just so happy that we bought our first house! We made it feel like home. Though, I, for real life, cannot, no matter how hard I try, figure out what on earth we did with our time. Can’t. Remember.
A year-ish or so later, we brought a Harper Jane puppy home. And, a year-ish or so after that, we brought our baby boy N home. And, three years after that, our sweet girl A. And, the stuff accumulated rapidly. The space shrunk in the same way that our hearts grew … all full … in the best ways.
The carpet in the nursery has my footprints embedded in it from hours upon hours of pacing with a sleepless baby N. I’d bop and sway him around that room in agony – desperate for him to sleep. Now that matted carpet just reminds me of my precious baby. Desperate nights led to sweet memories.
A few years later, I’d tuck a sleepy A in that very same crib, in that very same room and wish that she actually would LET me rock her … just for a little while.
The back yard – where puppy Harper kept tearing up Ryan’s newly planted grass. I still laugh when I picture her pulling up a corner of a specific square of sod and making him chase her to get it back! Where I (at 7 months pregnant), broke my toe kicking a ball for Harper. Where our babies played for hours and hours and hours. Baby pools, water tables, sand boxes, bubbles, s’mores. Where we created our own little haven. A refuge. A place that was all ours. Where N and I watched clouds and had picnics. Where 2 year old N road his red tricycle round and round the patio for hours on end and pushed his plastic lawnmower around the yard. Where Ryan and I would sit by the fire pit and talk and dream and plan and hope and pray. Where, whenever things were getting hard – when we started to feel like zombie ships passing babies back and forth in the wee hours of the night – we would meet and share and reconnect.
Where 3 year old N climbed and jumped over our 6 foot fence leaving his momma (who thought he’d been kidnapped, naturally, because what 3 year old does that) a panicked mess. Where 2 year old A spent hours sliding, “tumble-saulting”, dancing and playing “mommy” in her play house. My heart actually aches picturing those babes, covered in chalk, running around in their underwear in that lovely yard where we watched the seasons change…
The dining room – where Ryan and I learned how to have a date night IN … especially on Valentines and certain anniversaries when we didn’t want to pay for a sitter … or leave our babies. Where we blew out countless candles, held kids birthday parties, celebrated holidays, and “Friends-givings”.
The Kitchen – oh that kitchen! There’s a reason that people love their kitchens and spend hours designing and decorating them in their minds. It’s because it’s true what they say – the kitchen IS the heart of the home. In our kitchen, in that house … it was where the first spoonfuls of baby food were lovingly, exhaustingly prepared and airplaned in to little mouths. Where first bites of first birthday cakes were tasted. Where the best dance parties took place. Where real life happened. The breakfast, lunch and dinner … the cleaning up after the breakfast, lunch and dinner. The witching hour … when the crying felt like it would never stop … always in time for dinner. Those weren’t my best “dinner years”. Oh, but they were the years when N and I discovered our love for baking cookies together. We let A in on it too, after a while . And, they were the years when all the crafts happened. Where N would say, “let’s do a project, Mommy” and so we would … create, draw, make, build.
The Living Room – If we “lived” in the kitchen, then we lounged in the living room. Where N and I watched all the episodes of Curious George there ever were. And, Rio and Despicable Me on repeat. Where Ryan scratched up the ceiling the year he went all Griswold and brought in a tree too big for our yard … “It’s not going in our yard, Russ…” All the lovely Christmases.
Where we built lots of Legos and lots of blanket forts. Where we’d snuggle and nap and rest.
The hallways and bedroom floors in that home were for drying off and lotioning up babies after bath. They were for jammie time and singing nursery rhymes … and running wild …right before getting ones jammies on, naturally.
The kid’s bedrooms – where all the bedtime routines took place. Where the books were read. The stories were told, the songs were sung, the prayers were prayed, the butterfly/Eskimo kisses were passed out. Where we snuggle-buggled and talked about all the things … especially about how we’d love each other to the moon.
Even the landing on stairs of that house has its own special memories. That’s where all the best “fun joes” happened. If you don’t what at “fun joe” is, ask N. He’s the inventor and the only one who truly understands just what a “fun joe” is. Hint: it involves ALL (and I mean ALL) the stuffed animals. “Fun joes” were also allowed in the master closet with flashlights for extra fun-joe-fun. Though, I must admit, while pregnant with A, those “fun joes” became “naptime” for a tired momma. Sleep when you can – new mommas – and where you can.
The landing was also for Christmas morning. All the “first” Christmas mornings – right there in that house.
The Garage – Where N learned to love building with his daddy and painting with me. And, where A learned to love to run out and dance in the rain.
That house meant a lot to me. We became a family there. We grew and prayed and learned and struggled and trusted and hoped and prayed more. We grew stronger in our relationships with our Lord. We taught our children that same love and faith.
Now, it’s been well over a year since we packed up and moved out. We said our goodbyes. It was sad. But, it was a good sad. And, now, if I drive by, I’m okay. All those memories. They were ours to bring with us. Maybe the house kept some of it’s own (I like to think that it did), but we packed ours and brought them along with us. They were never meant to be left behind.
With that house and with our new house, I had a big faith that our prayers were heard and answered. I know they were. We prayed our way through that whole selling, moving and building process. We prayed through each step, holding hands and doing it together. And, so, when it was time to walk away from that sweet, special first home of ours – we did so with a confidence that the Lord had us. He HAD us. He has us.
We were moving forward with His blessing.
We were ready for our new house. Our new HOME. We knew we’d fill it with beautiful memories as well … and oh, how we are! They aren’t the same. They won’t be. They can’t be. These new walls won’t echo with the cries and giggles of our babies, but they’ll hold the laughter of our children as they grow. I am full of hope and happiness moving forward … We’ll keep holding hands and praying our way …