Memories Do Not Convey

So, yesterday, the word spread about our impending move to Long Island and last night, I got a call from a woman who is searching for a house in our neighborhood. She and her family have been renting and waiting for something suitable to open up. Apparently, this tiny pocket of the country hasn't heard of the housing recession because things are booming here. The last few houses on our street never even hit the market before they sold.

Which is very good news.

Except, you know, it means that other people will be coming in to look at MY house. And at some point, other people will be moving INTO my house.

And I think I'd like to go to bed now and wake up in about six months, already settled into our new house in New York. (And, heck, as long as I'm asking for things, I'd like to be 30 pounds thinner and more mature. Less wrinkled and shy. Taller. More athletic.)

It's just that now I keep going through the house and seeing it through other people's eyes and I realize how much work we have to do on it to make it a generic house again and not OUR house. There was all that unfortunate experimentation with color on the walls that I have to rectify. And then there's the modification to the cabinet in the laundry room so that we could put the litter box somewhere hidden so that Sydney would stop snacking from it. (I know, it's so disgusting I can't bear to think about it.)

Then, there is THIS little modification, which my husband built between his recording studio and our spare room so that he could use our spare room as a recording room for drums, since the studio is too small.

And what about these? This was our project in summer of 2006. The girls and I made all of these. I can't take them, right? But how can I leave them?

I'm sure I can't leave this --and yet, how do we take it with us?

I realize how much of our living has been done here and how that's all tied up in how I see this house. Look, that's where Jane took her first steps and look over there, that's where Ana sat at breakfast with her bike helmet on, pretending it was a space helmet. Here's where we finger painted and took baths in the bucket. That's where Jane burst into her first deep belly laugh. Over there is where Ana was sitting when she fixed my computer. That's where the Christmas tree goes and that's where we hang our stockings. Here's where we keep all the medicines we tried and couldn't get the kids to take. There's where my husband grilled steaks almost every single Sunday night. That's where I dropped that bottle of expensive wine and it shattered.

Here's where I was standing when I realized how blessed I am to have this family and to be in love with my husband and to be able to lead this life, surrounded by these kids and animals and friends and neighbors and all of this laughter. All of this joy.

Everywhere I look, I see our life. And I can tell you this, you can buy this house. I hope you love it every bit as much as we have--I hope there's some residue of laughter and joy that rubs off on you.

But I'm taking the memories with me.

Comments

hokgardner said…
So I wrote out this long, heart-felt response, and blogspot ate it. I'll just tell you in person.
Ei said…
Yup, Me too. Except I won't tell you in person. Just said, take it all. You can get a shiny new piece of molding, so take that one down and take it with you. Take the stones. Take it all.
shortoldlady said…
You most certainly CAN take whatever you want! Just make sure to have it in the listing information so everyone knows from the start! Those are precious memories!
Barb said…
Blogger ate my comment tell everyone that Blogger eating comments was unacceptable.

It's a damn plot, I tell you. I did take off the word verification in case that might help.

I hate Blogger. They have more problems...
trek said…
I knew a family that used tracing paper to copy all of the growth chart lines and bring them to the new house.
Hahn at Home said…
Very cool - and I remember that house of mine from long ago.

Now, the practical - Coop got a huge raise - hire painters, a cement crew (to take out your tiles and repave), and a drywaller to come in and do it for you. You won't regret it. Neither will your back.
Barb said…
Well, for the record, he didn't get a huge raise in the short term. He got a cost of living adjustment and the potential for more money later. Just didn't want y'all thinking I could suddenly buy all the sock yarn I want or anything. (Of course, NO ONE makes THAT kind of money.)
Pictures - take lots of pictures - they're more portable. Barb, I moved 2 houses down the row, and I still get all choked up when I walk by my old house. I had 4 babies in that house (2 of them, literally, birthed in that house). There's the hallway they ran up and down in their pajama'd feet on winter evenings; there's the brick patio my husband put in; there's our killer apple tree. So many memories - I feel like a part of me was ripped out.

Good thing I'm not moving cross-country. I'm rather change-averse.
Trish said…
The house I grew up in is still in our family (mum and dad still live there... they're stuck, like your summer project). Anyway mum had the kitchen totally remodelled the year Ella was born and she had to paint over the Height Chart that ran up the pantry doorway. Mum cried. Seven years later, it's covered in the grandkids' heights.

Do the thing with the tracing paper and mark all those lines onto a new plank of wood, and take the plank with you wherever you go. Stick it in a door frame in the new house.
Heidi Malott said…
Oh Barb, I love the part you wrote of residual laughter. What a sweet thought. Although, I am getting choked up, we are about to move also. Only 15 min away, but what an amazing 15 can make, different school system, different neighborhood... Part of me is excited but not all. My daughter (9) is in denial. She is very upset and sentimental. She cried anytime we sold a car. Oh boy! Best wishes to you and yours!
MadMad said…
There is nothing harder, well, I won't say nothing, really, but it definitely is hard to show people your house and see it through their eyes. Worst month ever, trying to sell our, having people digging through the closets, etc. Yuck. But I love those tiles - find a way to take them!!! And take pictures of the door frame, and that's all you'll need. You'll make new memories soon, I promise!
Barbara said…
I think it's so hard to leave a place and all the physical memories but with a bit of work you could lift the tiles and remove the moulding. Also what fun you'll have making more memories in the new house.
Lisa said…
so like I said keeper of the memories - you can take that piece of woodwork from the door with you if you can get some to match it - and yeah I would totally take the stones
CK Holder said…
I'm with y'all about taking it with you. You need to make it neutral anyway. Besides, it will intantly add HOME to your new house.