|Packing up, moving on.|
I remember the first time I walked over the threshold of this house.
It was a rainy, grey November afternoon. Newcomers to western Washington, we still hadn't figured out that rainboots are not just a fashion statement, but a requirement to make it through the cooler months in this climate. My feet were just beginning to feel damp in my tennis shoes, and Jo was already complaining about her squishy socks, which would not have been wet had she been able to resist the growing puddles at the curb. Logan was a six month-old nursling (younger than Reuven is now!) tucked into a ridiculously uncomfortable front-pack baby carrier that I had zipped into my fashionably large winter coat. Atticus was holding my hand, just 2 and a half years old and entirely unsure what this whole cross-country relocation had done to his life.
We all clustered under the long covered walkway leading toward the front door: five of us Blandings', and one very OCD realtor. From the outside, the townhouse was nondescript. Just another bit of new construction tucked into yet another Seattle suburb. When the door swung open and we all walked in, though, we knew.
This was our house. This one. This one right here.
I could see myself standing at that stove, making breakfast in my wool socks. I could see Jo twirling in the family room. I could see Atticus stacking blocks on the steps. I could see Logan taking his first halting, army crawl explorations through the dining room. I could see Mr. Blandings leading Bible study under the cherry tree out back.
The funny thing is that we went back and forth on this place versus another for a full 24 hours. Second-guessing our first impression, we wanted to be sure. We planned on living in this house a full two years, after all. It had to be just right.
A decade later (give or take) I can tell you that it was just right. This place has been all I dreamed of, and more. Not only did Jo twirl her way around this family room countless times, but now I have watched Seven do it, too. Atticus built fabulous Lincoln Log houses on the landing, and eventually taught Oli and Mani to do the same. And not only did Logan learn to crawl here, but a whole line of other babies have, too. Right on down to little Reuven.
I canned my first blackberry jam in this kitchen. Learned to sew in this dining room. Cried through the beginning cramps of impending loss in the upstairs bathroom. Laughed over our first broken-by-a-kid window in the family room. Opened the front door and saw Mani for the first time. Stood at the opened sliding glass door and listened to my husband pray with his grandfather one last time before that wonderful old gentleman passed.
It has been a good house. No, it has been a great house. At times it has felt like less than I wanted (sadly, I can covet as well as the next girl), at times it has felt too small or too simple, too urban, too far from the good stuff ... but it has never stopped feeling like home. Even right now, just three days before a truck pulls up to take our earthly belongings to a new space, a new place to grown and live and laugh.
I am glad I did not know what abundant life would be lived inside these walls when I first felt my soggy tennis shoes hit the brand-new, blue grey carpet. I am glad that I did not know the joys or the pains that awaited me. Life truly is better lived in the moment, and I am grateful that I got to spend those moments here, in this place that my older children will always recall as their growing up place.