19 January 2009

Last night it happened on the living room carpet.

The kids were dancing to the Counting Crows, and I was taking in the scene. Stacked boxes, furniture moved, art off the walls. For months now we have been running toward a single goal: Move to a neighborhood with a better elementary school. Before we went to Brazil, we closed on the new house, turned in Stella's paperwork, and sighed relief. We returned 10 days ago and started putting the details of seven years in boxes- or in the free box out front. Augusto said goodbye to some "really nice pants" from 1986. I admitted that I'm never going to sew those scraps of fabric into something beautiful. The kids chose toys to donate.

The movers come tomorrow.

In Decmeber, when our real estate agent came by with the stager, I couldn't listen when they debated new colors for the dining room. The dining room is exactly the color of my grandmother's living room. I brought a chip of paint from her wall. I felt mixed pride and regret when we cleaned up the neglected garden. But I stayed on task.

It was on the floor that I unraveled. It went like this.

Right there by the mantle we toasted our wedding. I remember the picture of us raising our glasses. We were smart when we picked this flowered rug and brown couch. It does hide the dirt from the kids and animals we anticipated. It's dark now, but this room is so great in the sun. We can never spend enough time here, just laughing.

Augusto is sorting his papers in front of the furniture that would change our lives. He is sandwiched between the two places our children were born. The bathroom is a little too big, but it was perfect for a mom pushing out a baby, surrounded by her husband (with video camera in one hand, son's head in the other), two midwives, and assorted equipment. The office never did get organized, despite a few genuine tries. It wasn't until after Stella came out that I realized I had stopped there to have her. It didn't matter.

Upstairs we have two bedrooms. When we moved in it was one large master suite with a knotty pine ceiling. There are animals and hand prints and shooting stars there. All three babies were conceived under that constellation. I need to remember to take a picture of the ceiling.

Our kitchen! Why do all parties end up there? Everyone crowded behind the counter with Augusto serving drinks and some gracious friend loading the dishwasher. How many bowls of soup did we serve? How many glasses of wine? How many debates started and (mostly) resolved? I love opening the dutch door in the mornings, folding laundry onto the counter.

We really are moving out of this house.

Before we started packing, I wanted to make a video tour- something to show the kids. Look, you were born right on that rug! Here's the window seat we made, letting you live mama's fantasy. This is the circle you rode around on your little bike. I never made the video. A house is just walls, right? I see that clearly in our new place, torn down to the studs. Even so, how do you leave a place of firsts? A wedding, a loss, two births. What were we thinking, doing all of these important things in the non-forever home?!

Sometimes I long for the houses we left when I was a kid. The one with the willow tree. The one with the small creek. The one with the endless cross country skiing. The one where I had high school parties. I stalk these homes from time to time. I wonder who lives there now.

Even as I dream our new home the Forever Home, I know it isn't. History has proved I don't stay in one place. But I want to, I really do.


Anonymous said...

Nice blog…. It isn't easy to choosing that perfect Living Room Furniture. It needs to be ergonomically viable and superior when it comes to comfort.

Katie said...

Last comment -- spam alert! I've gotten one of those before...how do they find us?

I just wanted to let you know that I completely empathize with you. I came from a family who moved like gypsies every 4-5 years and life was never dull. Sometimes I longed for that stability as a child, but now I am grateful for all the memories that came from the different places we lived. As an adult I have inherited that itch to get moving, but my husband has not. So we stay. When we first moved into our new state, we decided to rent a little log cabin with a red tin roof on the side of the mountain with our firstborn. We loved the view, the huge front porch, the remoteness. But I got pregnant with my second and my husband was driving an hour to work, and it was time to move on. I was looking forward to leaving the noisy buzzing of the wood bees that decided to infest a log in our stairwell, I was happy to find a place that had a laundry room that wasn't in our bedroom separated by a curtain (although now I wouldn't mind that again!), I was looking forward, forward, forward...and then suddenly, it was time to go. I lay with my husband on the floor of our bedroom where our bed used to be and just cried. He was confused and said, I thought you wanted to leave! Of course I did.

Our family has grown even more and it will soon be time to leave our current place. I see the too few bedrooms, the lack of storage, the tiny bathroom and long to just GO. My husband sees the pretty pasture with sheep grazing in the neighbor's yard, the relative isolation, the lack of traffic, the cheap rent. One day we will leave here and I will probably feel the same way I felt about our little cabin in the mountains. I will probably cry in the spaces our furniture used to be.

Karen said...

I once went back to the house where I grew up. The huge backyard I remembered, I could walk across in four steps. The cozy kitchen, way too small.

Our memories are never equaled in real life.