This is the last night in the only house I’ve ever owned.
As I sit here in the familiar silence of the evening, amongst boxes stacked high to the ceiling, I try to push the conflicting emotions from my mind as I wait for the aching in my muscles to give way to the fatigue that will bring sleep.
I try not to think of all the memories that this house holds. My mind wanders to the exciting times as we watched the house being built, still early in my marriage and my life still open to possibility and success. I remember laying the floor in the kitchen with my own hands. I remember planting the bougainvillea that now flash bright reds and pinks along the fence line outside. I remember bringing home two little ones for the first time and countless memories of first steps, first bites and first days of school. I remember little smiling faces rushing to the sliding glass door as my car pulled into the driveway each night and I remember kisses goodnight in cribs and then big boy/big girl beds.
I remember holding hands while watching tv, snuggles under the covers with temporary window coverings that eventually became permanent. I remember bike rides and morning runs, afternoon runs and evening runs.
I remember learning we were having a third child and excited to bring this wonderful new little one into our family. I remember first steps and first bites all over again. I remember laughter and tears and yes, shouting and frustration. I remember times that were so bad that I couldn’t breathe. But then, I could because this was our home.
This was our home while we lived a life. It was a home that Swee’Pea and TheMonk will remember fondly but GirlyGirl probably won’t remember much beyond what she sees in the countless photographs. It was a home we made friends in a community we loved. And while it’s easy to sit here and feel anger about the reasons why I’m leaving this home, the truth is, we needed a fresh start. A new chapter that includes a healthy bank account and credit cards with zero balances. And it will be an opportunity to mend fences and strengthen relationships.
And it will be a time to write a new chapter in our lives. And now that I’m a little older and, I think, a little wiser, I won’t take this new life for granted. I’ll be thankful for what I have and look back at the past with nothing but love and respect for the past is what made me who I am today.
And as I close the door one last time on this house and open the door for the first time in my new house, I will try and remember that houses are not what makes a home.
Home is where the heart is.