A moving company is coming to our house tomorrow to “assess” our belongings and officially start the paperwork portion of our move to England. I’m sure they see all varieties of homes but for some reason, I felt the need to clean. I’m pretty sure it’s because my mom is more OCD than Martha Stewart. And just as a sidenote, the sounds of sewing machines, wooden looms and vacuums all make me feel at home.
Anyway, the calendar is telling me I only have five weeks left in my cute little house but my brain isn’t cooperating enough to grasp that reality. This house has been my home through one of the hardest years of my life as well as one of the most precious. I’m sad to leave it. The Sarge and I found this house on a quick trip out to NC before we officially moved here and when we returned, it was as newlyweds. I was unraveling mentally at that time and started suffering from overwhelming panic attacks. Everything would set me off but I always felt safe under this roof. Conquering that crippling fear took many, many months of tears, prayer and faith but thankfully, I am no longer afraid.
Not long after I got a handle on the panic attacks, I found out I was pregnant. I have a snapshot in my mind of the pregnancy test sitting on our obnoxiously bright blue counters in the bathroom. Fear came again and at full force. Me as a mom? Are you insane! More tears came and long nights staring at the square tiled ceiling followed by evenings on the front porch. You can’t help but feel calm rocking in your chair while the humidity hugs you all around and the bugs buzz louder than any city noise.
This is the only home our little Bacon Bit has ever known and she knows it well. Her chubby little arms and legs have touched every square inch of the hard wood floors and there’s no telling all the places her mouth has been. She started walking this past weekend; teetering from the couch to the wall to the door. We’ve played out in the front yard and walked endless variations of circles around the streets. This may be what makes me most sad – that she won’t remember this place; her home.
We went for a walk the other night on a dream of an evening. The sky was huge, birds were chirping and you could feel everything was just about to turn the corner to fall. One neighbor stopped me to say hello; strangely we had never spoken before. Yet she knew we were moving and that we had dogs and that The Sarge was in the military. I found out she was from Iceland and loved classic rock and roll. I feel bad for not speaking with her before now and as we continued on our stroll, my mind wandered to the what-ifs.
Further down the road, another lady waved and gave the Bacon Bit a sweet compliment. This woman has my favorite yard in the whole town yet I’ve never seen her in person. The way her flowers grow wild and free reminds me of the Secret Garden and I have been so tempted to just hop the fence and wander around. I tell her how I so enjoy walking past her house and she says to wait just a minute. She runs inside and brings back a giant bag of fresh picked grapes. They taste like a mix of green and purple grapes but with that wholesome, pure homegrown taste. We keep walking.
I start to be overcome by this town and these people. It’s like I’m in an old sitcom; like Stepford Wives minus the creepy factor. The road gets blurry and my eyes sting but I hold it back. We’re back at our front steps and I let the baby out of her straps. The dogs are barking in the yard so I check the back door. Our surrogate grandparents from next door are delivering fresh-from-the-oven pastry. The 80-year-old husband smiles as he hands it over; his face is crinkled and a finger is missing on his right hand. “Frances wanted you to have this while it was still warm.” I soak it in and try to hold on to this feeling; this sense of belonging, of home.
I fear this place won’t be the same if we return. Life moves quickly; we get these small pockets of time that are like childhood. They are pure and innocent but they’re fleeting. Eventually, we grow up and the world moves in and reality hits hard and edgy. This place is slow, worn soft like a pebbled turned over and over. I want to remember it exactly as it is right now – our beginning as a family, our safe place, our home.