So how does it feel to make a life changing decision and then live through the consequences? Equal parts draining and exhilarating (see yesterday’s post for background info.).
Days after we accepted an offer on our house I was sitting on our secluded front patio watching the clouds turn my favorite hues of coral and lavender. Enjoying a glass of wine of course. I was going to miss this view.
My husband was futzing in the yard and asked what I was doing. I simply said, letting go. I mentally needed to walk through my memories of the house and say goodbye.
Right here on the patio was where my friend cried to me that her dad had cancer which he’d soon die from. That planter box to my left that Joe built- I had great intentions but funny when veggie plants say full sun, they really mean it. The few surviving plants that are ok with partial shade is some sad looking Thyme and an Echinacea plant.
Inside I watched all of my little boy’s firsts. I cooked my first Christmas dinner for my sisters and family in that kitchen. My girl at 2 ½ learned to swim like a fish in that pool out back. My sweet childhood cat, Sally, is buried under that tree down the hill. Joe and I killed enough rats on the property to feed a small village. Well, a village that eats rats I guess. Those times were strange but glorious marriage builders. I will miss my chicken coop where Joe poured his first slab of concrete and made a dream home for my hens. I started my blog here. In my little cave downstairs Joe allowed me hours upon hours to live my dream of writing. Thank God I can take that with me. We worked so hard on remodeling. We designed a couple of bathrooms, Joe built a beautiful bookcase, we painted and then painted some more. We did all we could to make it ours.
We hosted lots of happy parties here. But we can always continue that tradition elsewhere. Different walls, same people. Maybe even different people. We’ll still be us and it will still be great.
I won’t miss all the shit that doesn’t work right.
I won’t missing the damn oak trees that shed, no pour, leaves all over our yard each winter.
I won’t miss the never-ending to-do list.
Joe came and sat with me. He assured me that this was the right decision we were making. I held his hand. If I was sure of anything in that moment, I knew I couldn’t do this without him by my side.
Over the course of the next few weeks I had halleluiah moments that I was moving and then emotional spurts of tears. It was a bit like grieving. Denial- it was hard to wrap my head around actually not living there anymore; Acceptance- our vacation (and savings!) plan had already begun; Bargaining- if only we had worked harder, tried harder; Anger- short tempered and a short fuse (thanks to our agent for knowing how to handle me); and Depression- an overall sadness for our loss.
My son being five wasn’t too bothered by the move. My nine year old daughter with her sweet emotional side didn’t fare as well though. She was so upset with leaving her home. We thought it was important to be very honest with them about what was happening and explained exactly the process would go. We acknowledged their fears and sadness by admitting we had them too. But we stressed that as a family, we could handle anything together.
After moving all weekend we spent our last Sunday evening with neighbors and my sister having one last beer in the backyard and letting the kids swim. It was weird with the house completely empty. The kids got a few last slips down the slide while we took it all in. After everyone was gone Joe closed the pool cover, came to me and said, “that was the last time I will ever do that.” I asked how he felt about that and my stoic man had tears coming down his cheek. So we all lost it. The four of us sat side by side with our feet in the pool and cried. And hugged. And sniffled a little more. It was almost midnight by the time we left.
Over the next couple of days I had to go to the house to meet a contractor, etc. and it was like rehashing a bad break up. I finally realized that I needed to just be done. On my husband’s last trip there I just said, no, I can’t go back. And that worked. I avoided that area for a solid two weeks. Now I drive by almost daily on my way to take the kids to school and it doesn’t even phase me. Time does heal.
It took a lot of time and energy to realize that no matter the house, I will still get a kick out of the crazy positions my son sleeps in, I am still able to cuddle and read with my daughter, and my man will still always be an arm’s length away. It is JUST a house. The memories are ours to keep. Now onto the next adventure!