This is the place we called home when we welcomed our children into the world. I cradled my eldest, wrapped in her yellow swaddling blanket, and showed her her new room. I showed her our room, the kitchen, the dining room, the living room. This is the place of life, birth, love, beauty and fatigue and truth. This is where our family was born.
In our final months here, I walk through in a daze. Because you see,
This is where we laid our infant son in a shaft of gentle November sunshine. I can still see his tiny hands curled, his head turned sideways, as his eyes squint in the light. I can see his impossibly small arms and legs, and feel his fuzzy baby hair.
When we brought our youngest home, this is where her older siblings stood next to the crib and stared at her in wonder. This is where I watched in awe as our son giggled and laughed at the teensy tiny little package that came from Mommy’s tummy.
Here’s where our bare feet rushed to our children’s rooms in the darkness of night to scare away monsters, to soothe tears, to administer medicine or change diapers. And, when all else failed, we made the traverse back to our own bedroom with baby in arms, and snuggled back into bed to “sleep” with the child that could not otherwise be soothed.
This is where we sat in our rocking chair and rocked our babies to sleep, singing lullabies and whispering sweet nothings into their perfect ears. This is where our babies took their first wobbly steps to claps and shouts of laughter. These walls have heard endless singing and fighting and playing and silence over the past 8 years.
Here is where I have felt deeper desperation than I have ever felt in my life, and here’s where I felt the most profound joy I have even known.
Here, the walls have deafened me with silence, and here the walls have deafened me with noise.
Here is where I have been desperate to leave, and here is where I have been desperate to return.
In here, it is warm in the winter, and warm in the summer. I know how every room looks depending on the time of day and the time of year. My family and I have lived in this space so intimately that it seems no one else could ever claim it as theirs.
This is the floor where we have sat and played catch when we could think of nothing else to do.
This wall has been the home of our paper garden every winter.
These are the windows we leave open to trap the last October breezes and the first promise of Spring.
Every corner, every wall, every nook and every cranny has a story.
This is the home that has held everything I hold dear.
I am afraid that by leaving this place, I am leaving those things.
But the truth is that my grief is due to the fact that time marches on relentlessly, and that my baby is almost 3. The truth is that these walls cannot give time back to me.
These walls remind me to love my life and all that it will hold. They remind me that this life is precious and short.
My prayer is that the next owners love this home as we have loved it, and that these walls continue to hold the love left behind.
Because isn’t that all we can do, really? Leave our love behind.