So Gary and I have come to the conclusion that we probably don't need a seven-bedroom house anymore, go figure. Since Bridget has returned home she has begun making plans to get an apartment with a friend or two and move out sometime in the next six months or so and I can't say I blame her. I'm not going to go into the "wailing momma" mode because I understand where she's coming from. I remember getting my first apartment with my best friend and it was a HOOT. (Remember that, Karen?) Some of my favorite memories to this day are of living there, so I would never begrudge that experience for Bridget. But that'll mean that there are only the two of us rattling around in this big house, and it's ridiculous enough being THREE rattling around here.
Doesn't it just figure that once I got my bathroom remodeled I would end up moving away?
I have already begun looking at the rooms with the eyes of someone who is saying goodbye. I look at each room and I don't see what's there now, I see what was there ten or fifteen years ago. I see little girls playing in knee-deep piles of stuff. I see a little dog laying on the top bunk of a doll's bed. I see a basement with three boys, in various stages of voice-changing. I see a room with a chinchilla named Chong, who was the softest pet ever. (He didn't much love coming out of his cage but once he was out, he snuggled really well.) I can also see Michael's room, which was more like a maze, really.
I look at my living room now and it's tidy but when I look through my "time vision" goggles I see gangly teenaged boys draped over all of the furniture and I literally have to count legs and divide by two to figure out how many are there and how much milk we'll need for cereal. (The heads are all obscured by the blankets, but somehow the feet are never covered up.) I look at the house across the street and remember neighbors long since moved away, who used to be able to tell when we were home and when we weren't because the dog slept on the kitchen table when we were away.
My family room has a nice little pot-bellied gas stove. When that thing is turned on that room is toasty and warm and cozy. On a snowy day there's nothing better and I remember when the girls would come home from school, cold and wet and tired. They'd snuggle under an afghan on the couch with something or other on the TV and they'd always fall asleep for a little while. (Getting up early for seminary meant always being sleepy enough for an afternoon nap.) That's what I see when I look at my family room.
I look at my kitchen, at my pantry, and remember keeping it stocked up with extra goodies because I knew that I would be feeding not just my own kids but that their friends felt enough at home here that they would open the pantry door to see if there was something interesting to eat, to "tide them over" till dinner was ready. And most of the time there were extra plates on the table at dinner time. As more and more of the kids have grown up and moved out I've found that I've cooked less often but somehow I haven't managed the art of cooking less QUANTITY, so when I cook there's always enough to feed an army. (Or to feed whomever is here for the rest of the week.) Gary is amused about that.
I look at my coat rack, for pete's sake. I have a sun hat hanging there and next to it is the hat Aidan wore whenever we went outside to "give the flowers a drink of water." (Aidan usually got as wet as the flowers.) They haven't lived here for a long time but I can't bring myself to put his hat away.
So how do you leave these memories behind? Gary says, "Change is always hard for you." Ya THINK?? Maybe it's because change has always meant pain. Change always means losing something I love. But how stupid is it to live in a house with seven bedrooms, six of which are not even being used? We shouldn't be making a house payment like this when we could sell it and buy something perfectly acceptable, maybe three bedrooms so we would still have room for out of town family to stay. We've actually even seen a few places, one of which I liked very much and could see myself living in. And then I come home and look at my house again and wonder how I'll live through giving it all up.