Monday, April 20, 2009


"Will you be sad when we move out of this house?" I asked Chip last night as we sat on the back deck.

"Emotional maybe."

This started a long and happy reminiscence of how our lives are interwoven so intricately in the walls of this house, in the floors, the trees even the sand underneath. Before the first piling was driven, we spent hours drawing out our floor plan, discussing the pros and cons with the kids. Even before we got blueprints, I made two little three-dimensional paper houses using graph paper and foam core. We would lift off the top floor and peer inside, moving around paper cutouts of our furniture and beds.

As the house was being constructed, we visited every day, monitoring every development. One day we arrived to find a doorway where there was supposed to be a closet!

When the walls were up but before they installed the sheetrock, we brought the kids over armed with cans of spray paint. They sprayed words and pictures on the walls and floors of their rooms, now sealed away for posterity. When the foundation was poured we brought them over to put their small handprints in the wet concrete, along with a tribute to my grandmother who died the same day.

The blue sky and clouds painted on the ceiling of Casey's now empty room still makes me smile. The day she and I painted it, she was 12. I explained to her how careful we needed to be with the blue paint because the walls had already been painted white. Then, of course, it was me not her who swiped a big blue swath across the white wall. And then I did it again. Boy, did we laugh until we cried.

Chip and I assembled the English-style garden in the backyard brick by brick. We drove to Elizabeth City 45 minutes away to pick them up, creeping nervously with them teetering in the back of the truck. When the bricks were done, we used a wheelbarrow to ferry the gravel from the pile in front to the walkway in back. We cut timber and drove stakes for the raised beds. Last year we installed a fence around the backyard.

The Crepe Myrtle now so tall in the front yard was a Mother's Day present from Chip and the kids the first year we lived here. The birch tree in back was the same two years ago.

The pine floors recall the longest, hottest day that July when our friends Joe and Jenniffer helped us lay them. The doorknob reminds me of when Sparky and Jenniffer puzzled over how to install it.

Everywhere, everywhere we look there is a story that only we can tell.

Will we be sad to leave it? On the contrary, this phase of our lives is complete. The next phase is one we long to start. When the day comes, we'll thank this house for seeing us through and set off with happy tears, ready to leave it behind.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i remember so well