July 27, 2016
Today, I am packing up my life, into boxes, and crates. Today, I am starting the process of a new chapter of my life. A time that is both exciting and heart-wrenching. I have waited so long to get out of this house, ready for bigger and better things, I told myself. I AM ready for those new and exciting chapters but I am equally sad. All the years that this house felt so cramped, so full, that it seemed to be bursting at the seams. I felt like these four walls were closing in on me….but today I was reminded of just how much this house truly meant to me. The emotion was foreign, it caught me unaware.
As I was going through the boxes of storage in the attic, I was struck with the raw emotion of just how much this home has done for me. If these four walls could talk, oh the stories that they would tell. It seems like an eternity ago that we moved into this house, our first real home as a couple…..and yet at the same time it feels like only yesterday. We were so proud…..it’s small rooms just big enough to fill our limited items as we were newly married, two bathrooms? Oh that seemed outlandish that our guest would have a separate bathroom, we had never had that before. A guest AND an office/craft room, GET OUT OF HERE, no way!!!!!!!! I will never forget the smell, how the sage green kitchen made my heart so proud to cook meals inside it. How the fern wallpaper didn’t feel dated at all to me when I added in my own flare…..I can still remember the feeling of freedom……That is what it felt like when we walked inside the doors…..freedom and HOME!!!!! I had not felt at home since becoming an adult, and three different households so it was a welcome change…..oh and it felt like MINE! No more renting, no more roommates, just me and the husband, and this was our start….
So the blushing bride followed around her new groom, gratefully cooking his meals and fixing his plate after a long day at work, making their house a home, tidying, carefully folding his laundry and putting it away, meticulously organizing the few ornaments on our coffee table before reorganizing it, dusting everything until I wore the finish off…….then, the unexpected happened……LIFE! I cannot pinpoint a date or time that I woke up from working, school and trying to conceive to the stone cold truth that somehow THIS tiny life we had built was not enough?
Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and eventually months to years…………..Today, I was reminded of the beginning that we began when we walked into this house, and felt on top of the world….so proud, so much room….but with time came responsibilities, one repair after another, first one new baby then another…and before you knew it we were piled in this little house on top of one another!
But if these four could talk, they would tell you how I arrived in this place a blushing, doting bride but the woman that walks out the door is a different person entirely. They would tell you about the person I was in between these two transitions of being a woman, a wife, a childless mother…..then finally a mommy. These four walls would tell you about the endless nights I spent crying my eyes out, the words spoken in anger, the silence that nearly broke my marriage, they would paint a picture of what it looked like for two very much in love people to become strangers, then they would allow you to witness them falling back in love over and over once more. You would bare witness to each of them clinging to their marriage like their lives depended on it, you would see the struggle as when one held on the other let go……..until FINALLY they were on the same page.
I walked in this house, a young girl, a new bride……..but I leave here today, a woman, a wife, and a mother. That isn’t all that defines me though and the passed thirteen years I have spent under this roof. What defines me is the in betweens, the before I was a woman, and before I was a wife. The hurt, the mourning, the losses, the depression, the anxiety, the never ending doctor’s appointments, the disappointment, the despair, the loneliness…….it was all too much to take in. I grasped for hope, I clawed my way from the pits of hell more than once, and I failed miserably more than once. Through these days, the days that the mommy in me craved only a baby to hold, the mommy who became pregnant eight times, only to lose that dream EIGHT times. I was more than damaged, I was broken. Between these four walls, you will find the most vulnerable version of me, the part of me no one witnessed, the part that I hid behind a sad smile. The broken me, who mercilessly subjected myself to batteries of testing to get just one baby, I was obsessed, so blind with the need to be a mother that I neglected everything else in my life, my husband, and even God.
If you could walk these halls, you could probably hear the millions of prayers that I knelt down to pray fervently, the desperate pleadings would often turn to anger shouts to the Heavens for not heeding my requests!!! I was filled first with hope, then as my hope got snatched away time and again, I felt bitterness creep into my soul, blackening everything that was once filled with light, until all that was left of me was empty, brokenness and rage. I stand looking around at these four walls, that sheltered me while I felt more vulnerable than I have ever felt, they saw me lose my faith….but through all that they were there to see the transformation from broken to WHOLE once more. From faithless to fearless, from despair to sheer joy, from a barren womb to a fruitful mother and from someone who turned away from God, to the very person that today will give Him all the PRAISE!
You would see me painstakingly paint murals upon my nursery walls, only to cover the artwork up with angry slashes of paint as the tears streaked my face as the baby that was to grace the room was stripped away from me……but hold tight, be patient…..because the baby that was intended to sleep in that nursery was not the one I lost but the one that later found me……the very one that God intended to be my own. You would see the peace and tranquility wash over me as I carefully painted the walls once more with a rosy pink, and apply the decal that read, “Some people dream of angels; I hold one in my arms.” You would get the grand privilege of the day my daughter came home, all the nights spent in that very room, beneath the butterflies, rocking my baby to sleep. If you are really quiet, you can hear a lullaby, a bedtime story, a thousand giggles, you will hear the softest voice say “ma-ma” for the very first time. As time goes on you will see the crib turn to a bed and the nursery to a big girl’s room……you will see the artistic expressions of a 3 year old writing on the very walls that I had taken great care in making just right…….
If you make your way down the hall to the left you will find another nursery……that is RIGHT, I got my second miracle while living between these four walls. If you could see that section of my life, it probably would not show me in a flattering light. By the time my second daughter was born, I had painted her little sanctuary in purple, complete with a picket fence trim, and a garden theme……the serenity of motherhood wasn’t as easy as my first go around as a mom. On those days, these four walls saw me utterly exhausted, bone tired, trying to catch my breath, while juggling a two year old who had suddenly decided it was time to throw tantrums along with a colicky infant who never slept….days quickly melted into one long day that just cycled on repeat over and over. I fell asleep standing up, sitting down, and some days I just sat and cried. It was questionable if the shirt I was wearing had Braelyn’s food splatters upon it or Brynlee’s spit up, the dishes mounted, the laundry piled up, my anxiety ran rampant. Seems so silly now, how stressed and depressed I was when THIS was exactly what I wanted. I felt so much guilt for not always feeling Joy, and wondering more times than not if I had any clue what I was doing. I now know I had post-pardum depression that rendered my way of thinking. I loved my kids, never dreamt of hurting them but I was in over my head, and too new at this gig to ask for help.
Finally, as time passed so did my feeling of being overwhelmed. Survival of the fittest and I learned to survive, I figured out structure once more, and the joy I thought I didn’t have was there the entire time just buried under the lack of sleep, and the endless housework. I got to see the amazing gift that sisterhood is with my very own eyes. A bond forming between my girls that was unbreakable, they became best friends, mortal enemies, co-conspirators and completely inseparable. Things were louder in this once quiet home, filled with life, laughter, screams of both joy and anguish…..but full of love more than anything else. Countless silly photo sessions transpired in that living room, tickle matches were a frequent, and the girls learned all the best hiding places in this very place.
My husband became my husband, my best friend, a stranger, then my best friend and a husband once more, under this roof, between these walls, on top of this hill, in this little blue house. I have been dying to move since the girls were born, we had long since outgrown these four walls…….so what is this feeling? This unexpected grief, this feeling of loss?
Tonight, I prepare these four walls for a new family. The lump that welled up in my throat as I began to paint over those pink walls caught me unaware, then tears ran unabashedly down my face as I peeled off the angel decal, then moved on to take down the little picket fence, I painted over the “art” that each of my girls did upon these walls…….the art that only a year ago had infuriated me, well now it felt like I was painting over a memory, a treasure, a sentimentally irreplaceable artifact. These days at almost 8 and 6 the girls have thankfully learned not to draw on the walls, but as I slowly drag my paintbrush over the little stick figure with pig tails, I cannot help but feel as though I am erasing history. Removing their presence from the only home they have ever known, and the pain is more intense than I anticipated. Soon, another family will laugh, cry, grow under this roof, and that makes me smile. I hope this old house is as good to them, as it has been to us. I hope it sees more late night dancing in the kitchen, I pray there is more laughter to echo down those halls, that the joys are many and the sorrows are few for the next family. I hope that children fill up this now empty space, the space that three months ago was brimming with chaos. My prayer is that a marriage grows, children bloom, and prayers are answered. For all I can say about this house there is a bit of magic beneath the paint……enough magic that with some help from the good Lord above, allowed me to experience TWO miracles inside this home. No matter how many layers of paint I put on these old walls, these four walls will always hold the memories, the love, the laughter, the heartache, the birth, the growth, the first times like a treasure box. I sit in the floor a little while before preparing to leave. Remembering….the day I brought Braelyn home, then Brynlee, just as if it were yesterday I can visualize them beginning to crawl, then walk, their tiny new voices, the sing song laughter……I am moving to a new house, new walls, and the place is beautiful. We will make a billion more memories there, and one day it too will hold stories all it’s own.
As I get into my car to pull out of the driveway; it hits me……this is the last time I will pull out of this house as my home…..no more will I pull into this gravel drive, lug in groceries, rush babies for baths, cook a home cooked meal, or tuck my babies into their beds. This house still belongs to me but it is no longer my home…..that hits me deep inside. I try to imagine another little family making their new beginning here, and it is bittersweet. But the thought gives me comfort. Tonight with all the lights out, the contents gutted, and the solitary silhouette sitting upon that hill with no love to brighten it’s depths….I hesitate to leave…..how utterly lonely it looks. How clearly I can picture every little moment, if I look hard I can see two little blonde haired girls swinging on their swings in the summer, building a snowman in the winter………now the yard is just…….empty. I swear it looks as if the house looks isolated, lonesome almost…A new family in this house, well that is the least I can do for this little blue house that helped me grow and raise my little ones! I shall not leave it barren, like I once was. It will not be an artifact, a shell that sits upon this hill. It has kept so many secrets, it has been the place I felt safe at, and for that it deserves a reward. “My little blue house, upon this hill, thank you. I pray that another family, loves and learns and laughs inside your walls. I know there is a sacredness inside your walls, and my hope is that you always remember us, as we will remember the house that built us!” Tears well up in my eyes as I take one look back and begin my trek to my new home…..a home that is already alight with activity, laughter, and life….tonight I will lug my groceries into a new kitchen, prepare a meal for my family, and give thanks for my beautiful new home, whilst remembering the home I am leaving behind.