Dear Yellow House,
I’m not good at goodbye under the best of circumstances. As you well know, I’ve sat on both your front porch and back deck and engaged in complicated burning rituals merely to say goodbye to kids that I’ve known for 180 days each. How will I ever be able to release you, my darling Home, where I’ve lived and loved and learned for nine and a half years, thousands and thousands of days?
Amelia saw her first Christmas here. We brought her over this threshold at less than five months old. She ate her first cereal sitting in her high chair right in this kitchen with Auntie Lisa having tea beside us. Abby was conceived and born while we lived here, and this is the only home she’s ever known. I nursed both of my babies in the quiet dark in this living room, and I’ve watched many a sunrise through the woods outside this window.
We’ve had thousands of family dinners in this dining room. Patrick and I have laughed, fought, and loved for the biggest part of our marriage in every single room of this house. And both porches, come to think of it. That’s a lot of energy to share. Patrick wrote two books here. I’ve returned to the comfort of this living room after maybe a hundred stressful dress rehearsals, kicking up my feet on the furniture and not at all regretting the rings of my martini glass on the placemats.
I got the news of my brother’s death in this kitchen, while making meatballs on a perfect summer’s morning. My bunny died here, along with three cats. They’re all buried in the back yard under Amelia’s Christening bench. Their energy is here as well.
I’ve cried myself to sleep in this bedroom over matters great and small. I’ve painted words of inspiration and encouragement on the girls’ bedroom wall. We’ve gone from cribs to toddler beds to big girl beds, and now the two are squished in this tiny room. They learned how to be sisters here, though, my girls. They’ve learned how to negotiate with each other during countless nights of bedtime squabbling and secret-telling. I’m afraid it’s been more of the former than latter, but my hope is that when they have a little space from each other, there will be more patience to go with it.
Oh, and the parties! We have the most amazing group of friends, as you well know. Faux Christmases and naughty Tramptoberfests and crazy amounts of champagne and flowing chocolate fountains and chances for all of us to break free of our roles of Upstanding Contributing Members of Society and raise a little hell on the back porch and vicinities. That kind of joy and effusive celebratory laughter will echo here long after we’ve gone, I know. Is there a more powerful or pervasive force to be found?
So, Twelve Westwood Road, there’s been a whole lot of living here. We are so incredibly grateful for the shelter, comfort, and light that you have provided for our growing family. We became a family here, and we will leave you with the vibrations from that journey within your walls.
Because yes, it’s time for us to leave now. We love you, and we appreciate all of these gifts, but it’s time for us to move on. It’s time for all of us to have a tiny bit of elbow room, to have our own spaces under our shared roof to create ourselves in this next phase we’re all entering, each in his or her own way. We thought about adding an addition to you, but after much reflection, we’ve decided not to. Patrick for financial reasons, and me because…well, I know you don’t want us to. I know you want to be just what you are – humble, small, cozy, sturdy. You don’t need any alterations.
There is nothing I wish more for you, Sweet House, than that you find another family who will cherish and appreciate you as much as we have. I hope that you will always know laughter and turkey dinners and tickle-fights and candlelight and jazz music and Spring Cleanings. I hope that children will scamper down your stairs on many a Christmas morning to come, and winds will howl against you as you keep your families warm and dry inside. I hope many delicious leisurely summer afternoons will be passed on your front porch swing and I really hope your new families keep growing roses and lavender and daisies and hydrangeas. You deserve all of those things.
Know that scrapbooks full of you will continue to be a part of our family, and that no matter where else we go, you’ll always be Our First Home. And yes, when I’m feeling particularly blue, or nostalgic, or just when it’s the Day Before Thanksgiving and I’m thinking about baking pies, I might have to drive up to you, and pretend that I just arrived there by accident. I’ll make a very, very slow turn-around on the dead end street, looking way into the back yard to see if there’s still a garden or a swingset. I’ll try to peek through the windows, and I will whisper another little thank-you for just being you, our little tiny first home, and a part of all of us for always.