Friday, August 06, 2010

A Walk Through My House

This morning all my babies were in the tub. After bathing the boys, I washed Mia and then pulled the plug and left her playing because she wasn't ready to get out. A few minutes later, I walked down the hallway and peeked around the corner and whispered, "Are you ready to get out?"

She turned around and looked at me, smiling.

And you know those old family movie reels where you see the kids growing up? (Think Marley & Me) It was as if I had a weird kind of dejavu -- looking into the future and remembering that exact moment.
I was talking to a friend the other day and she was telling me how she thought her house was nothing special (I beg to differ) --- but that to her, it was special because she raised her children there.

And as I stood in the doorway watching Mimi's cute face and the way her wet hair lay on her head, I thought about walking through my house -- one day, when we sell it.

It is our first house, which makes it special in and of itself. All of our dreams were packed into it and it was a place of our own.
A place of our own!

On my front porch I'd remember hanging wreaths for each season and loving the whole process of coming up with someone new. I'd think of how much I loved the windows in the door and peeking inside to see what I could see. I'd remember Christmas time and seeing Scott and Mimi peering out from inside to me outside and taking their pictures.

(Can you see them?)

I would walk in my front door and notice the latch we had to attach at the top so the boys couldn't sneak out without me knowing and watch the trains down the street and scare drivers because they were sitting on the curb ("Where is their mother?!").

I'd see the cute little cubby mailbox in the alcove and in my mind's eye see Maters and hot wheels and trains and teddy bears that were frequently left there. Oh, and the time there was a whole bunch of crunched-up-tortilla-chips left there, too. The time we couldn't find Mr. Bear, and I found him later tucked inside. And the way you could hear the mail being dropped down inside in the mornings.

I'd walk into my front room and see the nice pillows scattered all over the floor, despite however many times I've told them we don't play with those. I'd look down inside the pillows and find cars and trains hiding behind. And I'd remember finding food stashed there, too -- even raw, uncracked (hallelujah!) eggs on one occasion. I'd look toward the backyard and the french doors and think of opening them when it was really windy outside and just listening to the wind in all the trees out there.

I'd look toward the front window and remember our somewhat crammed antique wooden table given to us by Scott's parents when we got married. I'd remember the evenings with classical music playing while I got dinner ready. Setting that little table, pulling the piano bench around for the boys to share on one side. I'd see Mia's little booster seat and think about how cute she was because she loves to eat. The pounding forks and spoons and knives while they waited to be served up. And I'd look at the window ledge and think about how many times their little feet walked across it and all the smudged fingerprints that I'd clean off the glass that never ever seem to go away.

I would remember the sweet prayers over the food -- and really starting to hear my children think up prayers of their own, sometimes laughing at what comes out of their mouths and something caught off guard by how sweet they can be ("help us be kind and gently").

I'd remember our beautiful Christmas tree and warm fires for cold winter evenings when the world is quiet and wet and white outside. I'd think of running down the street in front of my house and seeing the twinkle lights wrapped around my mantel and about how inviting it looked.

I'd remember singing around the piano and the way my heart nearly burst with pride at what good singers we have and how they would let it all come out in our family home evening tunes. I'd look at the beautiful wood floor and think of how we danced on that floor sometimes, turning the music up and how Isaiah especially loved to dance with me.

I'd walk through the kitchen and think about how it really was and is a tiny kitchen. But I'd remember the cute little table in the bay windows and all the daily activity and buzz that happened there. All the yummy food, and the baby on the counter all the time with me as I cooked. And the way Isaiah always had to pull a chair from the other room to watch whatever I was cooking as well. I'd think of how Scott and Garrett ripped that wall down only to find a plumbing pipe (Oh good henry!) that we luckily were able to re-route. I'd feel gratitude for my husband and brother-in-law for their work and for what we made of this house.

I'd look out the bay windows into my back yard and I'd stop there for a long time. The yard was what first sold us on the house.

I'd think of the hours and hours and hours I spent there. Cleaning out the flowerbeds, planting things, tending. I'd see the garden plot and remember how much satisfaction and joy I got from the harvest and seeing things come to fruition. I'd remember how hard Scott worked to restain the deck and how we loved sitting out there with family and friends. I'd remember frozen custard with our friends, late at night. Popsicle sticks littering the yard. Watching my sons (and Mimi) too -- but especially Benji -- pushing his little lawnmower around the yard following his dad mowing the lawn. And the way they rode in the wheelbarrow. And I'd think of playing my guitar on the deck steps outside by myself, in the dark. The way you could hear crickets so prominently. I'd look up at the huge sweeping tree and thank it over and over for its beauty. I'd remember the warm summer nights and rotating the sprinkler and smelling the earth and those lovely summer thunderstorms with massive, tumultuous, churning clouds of deep blue.

I'd go into our bedroom and remember nursing little Mimi every morning and loving that quiet time, loving the way the room looked clean and white and quiet in the morning. I'd remember admiring the sunshine that poured in the bedroom and the mountain view. I'd think of bathing the boys in totes in the shower before our bathroom was finished and buzzing heads in that bathroom and potty training the boys there. I'd think of the nights that one of the boys (or both) would climb into bed with us and we'd all sit there talking. Or the Sunday mornings when this would happen too. I'd think of the stack of library books that was always in the closet on the floor.

I'd walk downstairs to their bedrooms and walking into the boys' room I'd see where their bookshelf was. I'd remember all the stories we read, over and over and over again. I'd think about how many times I had to clean up spilled cereal from off their floor. I'd think of crawling into bed with them at night and singing to them and listening to their small voices when they'd sing along, the forlorn little Christmas tree branch that was their small "Christmas tree" in their room with homemade ornaments and red lights. I'd remember that we almost always said family prayer right there, on that floor. And squeezed together afterward in a big family hug. I'd remember snuggling with them, hugging them, watching them start to slip into slumberland. I'd remember looking down at them, asleep in their beds, and thinking about how long they were getting, how fast they were growing up.

I'd remember rocking Mimi each night in her room, and checking on all of them before I could go to sleep. I'd remember folding clothes in the big room, watching movies together, and all the running around/goofy happenings in the evenings up and down the hallway. I'd look in my pantry room and think about how small it is and how proud I was of all the stock we had. I'd remember the kids wanting to help me as I loaded the washer with the dirty clothes -- standing on the detergent box and dropping things in.

I'd walk through feeling very wistful.

Just the other night an eighty-year-old woman that I was visiting with turned to me suddenly and somewhat out of the blue and said,

"You know, this is the best time of your life."

I do know.

Even just yesterday I had that thought. I was cuddling one of my little boys who was crying because he was disappointed he missed Grandpa and Grammy when they stopped by. The other one came and climbed into the chair on the other side of me and all of us were just talking. And I fast-forwarded then, too, thinking about how wonderful it was to just be there, talking with my sons who are so anxious to tell me things. I won't always have these children like I have them now. I feel very aware that they are going to grow up and their dreams will open up before them as they open their wings. And I'll see my own taking flight.

Because they were my dream.

And we probably won't always be here --- but in just a short nine-and-a-half months, there's already a lot that will make this space sacred to me. And it's like what my friend said: to anyone else, it may be just a house, and not even a very spectacular one. And even though I happen to really like the house, I feel deeply about it mostly because of what happened here and watching my family grow.

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