I sat outside in my sea-blue patio chair in the darkness. Crickets were chirping and Howard was exploring the yard. The sitting was my reward for a late night of grading–160 essays assessed using a six-trait rubric. (In other words, the bane of my existence as a language arts teacher.)
The stars seemed brighter than I remembered on my old stone patio. The chirping louder. I felt lighter.
Closure began to set in on September 9, the day of closing. I was not particularly looking forward to that day, but when it came, I did not fight it. Ben and I were chatty with the new owners, and they were eager to learn about the neighborhood. They warmed us over with a growler of homemade beer. These were good people, we thought (and hoped).
We walked outside the tall, non-descript office building and into the reality that we had just handed the keys over. Our realtor looked at me with eyes full of knowing, full of empathy. She raised babies in a home of her own once. How are you doing? She wondered. I crumbled into a river of tears and Ben held me against his chest.
That was the last time I cried about the change. And because of the mixed emotions with closing, we decided getting beers at the bar & grill across the parking lot was a good idea. And it was. We talked a lot about our old home and neighborhood and daydreamed about a future home. Because of that conversation, we woke up to an inbox full of home listings in Boulder county. No pressure, she wrote.
We are in no rush to buy a house again. Our lives need this transition before we can really appreciate what is next. And in the meantime, our rental house is feeling cozier. As a family, we are getting spoiled by the perks of living in a new home (hello closets and gas fireplace!) while still missing the authentic charm of our first home, built in 30s.
Linnea is loving her new preschool: She comes home with a letter written on each wrist and teaches me the sound. And yesterday, she fired story after story to me in bed. I learned of a boy named Carter who gave her a leaf. When I asked why, she looked at me nonchalantly, “because he loves me, Mama”. Oh geez, I thought.
Because I leave at 6:30, Linnea walks me to the door and gives me a kiss. Have a good day, Mama, she says. She spends the next two hours with Ben, eating breakfast, getting dressed, facetiming me, and playing before she goes to school. I am almost always home before she wakes up from her nap. This set-up is working for us, and Ben is so much happier to have more time with our daughter since he often works at night, supervising games. Linnea and I even bring him dinner on those nights, an option we didn’t have before.
Howard, on the other hand, is still trying to find his place in this home. I placed his ottoman in the front window, but he didn’t take to it as he did in our old home–always there, keeping tabs on the neighborhood. He will find it though. He is already cozying up to his new dog bed and access to the backyard.
The lesson of letting go is finally beginning to take hold. Easier said than done though. I’m learning the more of the past that I release, the more freedom I have to embrace the present moment.
So, I will take a deep breath and move forward.