I knew this house was ours immediately.
It wasn't the bright kitchen or the jacuzzi tub in the bathroom that lured me in. It was the sunlit staircase, with one window at the top of the stairs and another at the bottom. I had only been a bride for two months then, but we agreed that children were in our future and as I stood just inside the front door, I could see myself carrying a baby down those stairs. We told the realtor we needed to think it over and then parked just around the corner.
"We're going to have babies in that house," I said.
And so we did.
The house bore witness to my life, as houses do. I waddled pregnant, rocked infants, read stories, nursed fevers, kissed boo-boos, calmed tantrums, set up sprinklers, stuffed stockings, planned birthdays, baked cupcakes. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner and Easter dinner. I nurtured, and then ended, a marriage. I fell to my knees on the living room floor and cried for the death of my father. I blared the kitchen radio at 6 a.m., high on adrenaline and strength, the morning of my surgery.
I adjusted as the house continually ceased to represent my former life and morphed into my current one.
I have long loved this house. I love the way the light comes in through the expansive kitchen window. I love the way my bedroom smells, like fresh air and perfume, when the windows are all open. I love the scraping sound my son's door makes when he opens it in the morning. I love being under a blanket on my couch, watching the snow fall out the front windows. I love sitting on my back porch with a coffee or a beer or a book or a friend.
I love this house and the life I have lived in it.
But a person cannot truly move forward if her feet remain in the same spot. You can't stay where you are, I remind myself as I pack boxes, digging through the rubble of the last 13 years of my life. You have to keep going.
I'm excited for a new beginning, a place that is free of ghosts. A place where I am not the ex, not the mourner, not the brain tumor.
A place where I am just me.
A place where I am home.