At 8:21, we woke up yesterday in a heap of three bodies on our queen size bed. Our daughter rolled over a couple of times before declaring it, “Good Morning time”. Boxes surrounded us, a reminder of what the day held.
It wasn’t in the plan to sleep in that late, but I was grateful to have had one more good night’s sleep in our home of five years. And for a moment, it still felt like home. That is until we got out of bed and hustled to get dressed before our family help arrived.
After greeting her auntie, Linnea looked out the front window and saw our beloved neighbors to the north on their morning walk. She hollered out to them, wondering if she could come say hello. My heart ached thinking that might be the last time she did that through that particular window. And in that moment, I cringed knowing there would be no hiding my sentimentality, not today. A day for goodbyes.
When I begin crying, there is no stopping, and yesterday was no exception. By day’s end, I was exhausted from the move and raw emotions. I wondered if I should hide my sadness from my impressionable and uber-observant, two-year old daughter. When discussing this uncertainty with my neighbors, they both agreed that by not hiding them, I was giving Linnea permission to express her own, a healthier option than bottling them up. “Let it flow and let it go”, my dear friend and neighbor said to me with a hug; I needed that embrace and advice. Let it flow and let it go, what a very difficult lesson for me.
The parade of cars following the Uhaul left in the early afternoon. Linnea and I took our time and met them all at the rental house (if she didn’t have to nap, I might have lingered there all afternoon). We walked outside to find our favorite people on the block crying in the shade of the evergreen. Seeing Howard, our golden retriever mix dog, in the front seat of the moving truck was just too much, they said. We cried, laughed, and took pictures (see below: Left to right–Me, BB/Becky, Linnea, Amy, and Emma). I needed that moment with them…a moment to let it really flow. Damn, I am going to miss them, I kept thinking.
Linnea and I left in an over packed Honda pilot. Admittedly, I circled the block twice, savoring it one last time. We have one more weekend with the house under our ownership, which makes me feel very glad, even though it feels different empty. It will be one more mark on the long checklist of transition. We lived the last two weekends in that neighborhood with new eyes: we biked everywhere, enjoyed the trees and convenience of the city, ate way too many times at our favorite local bakery, and lingered in conversations with neighbors.
The night before the move, we went to a BBQ with a neighbor couple who have lived in the same house for 33 years. I must have made wide eyes when she told me that because she smiled and with a hand on my shoulder said, “Some people never leave”. With a gulp and watery eyes, I said, “But, I don’t want to leave.”
And it is true. I didn’t want to leave the home and neighborhood we have come to love. A first home is beyond special…and it had become our sanctuary amid the hectic pace of Denver and all that life can bring. After the experience of living there, I fully understand the intimacy of a home. The knowledge of which floor boards make certain creaks, the peace of a particular view from a favorite spot, or the satisfying taste of grapes that began as a small planted branch along a fence.
Although I didn’t want to move, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t exactly what our family needed: It only took Ben 11 minutes to drive Linnea to her preschool (which we LOVE) this morning (something he never could do had we stayed in Denver and worked where he does), I love the change of my school environment as I contemplate where my career in education will take me, and ultimately, we have more time together as a family and less time in the car. As much as I adored that house–my city cottage–, I know that time together as a family is most important. And renting a home allows us time and freedom to decide where we truly want to be in the long run…while making that decision together in the space we have created.
I don’t think any of us slept well last night, tossing and turning in the sea of disorientation. I half expected to hear the noises of the city we have become so accustomed to. Instead, it was quiet as we lay in the same bed we had woken up in at our old house that very morning.
After a hug and kiss, Linnea insisted on walking me to the front door this morning when I had to leave for school. And as I reversed in my black civic, I saw her wide smile and confident glance in the doorway of our large, suburban rental. One hand on the door and the other waving me off. And right then, with the sun streaming brightly in through the windshield, I thought this could feel like home too.
I read this blog post this morning and it spoke to me because it is so similar to how I was feeling when I wrote this: http://candidkay.com/2014/09/02/it-does-not-feel-right/