I sit here in my pajamas thinking and pondering and making mental lists and forgetting what I want to write on my lists.
So much to do. So much to plan and think about doing. And doing and doing.
Moving has never been my favorite activity. The anticipation of the new. That's great. Looking toward the future and thinking about how neat everything will be. Learning about your new house. Your new home.
But, first, there's the stuff. All of the stuff. Things. Some you care deeply about and will always keep- well until you die and your kids throw your things away. Then there's the things you didn't even know you still have. Oh no, didn't we throw that away 20 years ago. Or the surprises- "no, it's not mine it must be yours". And the trash. And the organization.
This house, our home, must be made ready. We have to make it appeal to someone else who will want it to be their home. We have to "depersonalize" our home. Take away what makes it a living part of our lives and our history, and make it into the box it was once built as. Before we fell in love with it. And our children grew up in it. And I nursed every one of my babies in this house. Almost birthed one right on the stairs.
"Home is where the Foreign Service Takes You". We lived by that for a lot of years in a lot of homes. We had each other and added our kids on the way. We had enough of our familiar things to make it feel like home. But we always knew that this house, the one we are abandoning to strangers, this was home. Real home.
"Home is where the heart is". There's a lot of heart in this house. Pealing wallpaper. Marks where holes have been punched in the wall. The door frame where the kids' heights have been etched. All of it familiar and comfortable.
And now there are no more kids tracking in mud and leaving finger prints everywhere. No more reminding little boys to "aim straight". No more rushing the kids out the door to catch the school bus. No more asking if homework has been finished. No more groups of teens eating pizza around our kitchen table. No more "comfort zone" in the basement.
I will remember all of the birthdays and Thanksgivings and Christmases and La Leche League meetings and baby showers. And all of the people who have been in this house, our home, who are no longer living. Chet, my stepfather. Dale, my brother, Daddy my father, Mommy, my mother, Bob and Mary, my in laws and beloved grandparents of our five children. Friends too. And cats and dogs and even a couple of adorable ferrets.
This is life. People come. People go. They say that to know love means to know loss. I don't know who "they" are, but on this one I think they are right.
How many years worth of Christmas pictures do we have of our family, growing from the two children who moved into the house with us to the five now grown and moved out. So many pictures in front of the fireplace.
Our new house has a fireplace. Actually, it has two. Maybe our next Christmas card will just have the two of us, and Buddy the dog, sitting in front of our new fireplace.
I know that I will miss this house. I will dream about it. I still dream about houses we lived in over 30 years ago- that weren't ours to start with.
In a way, the grieving started over 20 years ago. The first time one of our baby birds was grown up enough to live on her own. They all followed. Each in their own way and on their own schedule. They (yup them again) say that's the way it is supposed to be.
It feels right and it feels wrong. Or maybe not so much "wrong" as inevitable and unstoppable. I cannot stop the earth orbiting the sun. Nor can I hold onto my babies forever.
For forty years now I have been a mother. And I will be for the rest of my life. Until I die, I will be the one person who has know each of my children longer than anyone else in the universe. I felt that first flutter. A gift I will always cherish.
Thank you life for presenting me with such amazing gifts. Thank you house for so many memories, good and bad, I think I will try to let go of the bad and hold onto the good. Thank you Sherwood children. Grown, but not done growing in your lives and experiences. You have taught me so much about life and love and have brought me to understand what is important in life,'
Thank you Nick for sharing this house and our many other homes around the world. Thank you for the next adventure.
Oh my, what are we getting into with this big, new house? There will be our fussing and frustration while we figure things out. But there will be warm evenings and lots of laughing. We do make each other laugh, even more as we get older.
No wonder the kids all moved out. They realized how "lame" we are!