Cardboard boxes bulging with stuff, a
single strip of tape across the top, sit quietly in every room of the house.
Each labeled with black marker so it lands in the right place at our new house.
It’s getting real now.
fell in love with your house,” the realtor said.
was calmly excited, too many chickens to count before they hatched. Somewhere in my realtors
rambling, I heard, “…so much light streaming in…such a large laundry room…loved
the front porch.”
know. That’s exactly how we felt fifteen years ago. My stomach ached. Not
the glorious reaction I expected in receiving such promising news.
we had long been tired of climbing the stairs. We didn’t even use the
upstairs—half the house, heated and cooled.
phone at my ear was delivering the last phase of our lives—it was time to
downsize. We wanted it. We were ready.
half of our belongings into storage cleared the clutter.
could live like this,” we both agreed.
thought it would be nice to leave a “Welcome to Your New Home” basket for the
next owners with a note that read Love
We had a micro baby boom in our family—seven little nieces and one nephew, and a
grandson. Our three children began living their own grown lives. I published
a children’s book, then another, won awards for my writing.
hid Easter eggs over and over. Pancakes with too much syrup. Homemade oatmeal
was a favorite before school breakfast. Moon rocks had fallen from the sky and
landed in my garden to be discovered by little hands. I wrote a poem. My husband learned to
make a perfect biscuit, and a broccoli casserole that would’ve made my mama
proud. Fall was celebrated with my pumpkin pie.
Thanksgiving spreads and piles of love
The gas-log fireplace quietly warmed many evenings in the two-story living room at the touch of a button.
The patio we all helped put in the summer before my youngest son went off to become a Marine.
Laughing, loving. Singing Christmas songs in the balcony. My mama would have loved the house, just like we did the first time we stepped across the threshold.
Butterflies and hummingbirds, big family parties, the sun from the second-floor window warming the cat as he napped.
I hope the next phase of our lives has this many feel-good moments.
Flower beds in full bloom and a freezer full of hand-picked vegetables.
Planting seeds. Hoping. Waiting. Filling your basket with the fruits of your labor.
Learning to smell fresh-picked green bell peppers and ripe tomatoes.
It's part of the experience.
New lamps, a roll-top desk, a gun we’re holding for a man named Lou who lives in New York. Hearing the same family stories over and over again.
Things you forget. Memories you keep.
game night, card games with the sisters.
Ping pong. Pictures in frames, albums, and scrapbooks.
Horseshoes and badminton.
If I had known that fifteen years would go by so fast, I would have tried to slow it down.
Swimming until our fingers wrinkled. Friends gathering.
A sand and
water table that always ended up being a slushy sand table.
Building a volcano because you know how.
Becoming a Marine because you can.
Putting your toe in to test the water. Life.
Learning new words from older kids.
Every single child that came into our home chasing the cat up the stairs. Posing for the camera.
tiny pink piano whose keys were tickled by happy tiny fingers.
An adopted cat that we worked hard to keep a roof over his head.
Stray dogs finding a respite.
came close to being a real hoarder. I found the strength to let go of five
boxes of books. Everything is just a thing. It's the memories that are tangible and powerful enough to bring tears.
Learning how to grow. Learning to let go.
Baby dolls and Barbie dolls. Trucks and trains.
many sunsets, snow days, and lazy Sunday mornings. Coffee in bed. Steaks on the
Music and movies.
Wait a minutes and hurry ups.
Marking the years with smiles and food.
Living in the moment. Loving the mess left behind.
Editing with a group of
writers. Editing alone. Sharing coffee and a newspaper with a sister spirit.
Little books for little hands.
Little moments with sweet little friends.
Speaking love without even talking.
Wishing you could close your eyes and live every moment all over again.
Crossword puzzles before the sun comes
up. The smell of fresh-cut grass.
Loving people that don't belong to us. Belonging to those that love and care for us.
jobs, promotions, new cars, but always the same old truck. Spaghetti-faced
Trampolines that roll in the wind.
China for holidays, Fiesta dinnerware
for everyday, “cardboard saucers” for midnight snacks.
Mexican food for New Year's Eve.
Always laughing. Leaving the party early to go have a baby.
Swinging on the back porch, roasting marshmallows, vanilla wafers for the cookie monster.
Flags flapping, cousins swimming, pictures of the moon.
Little girls playing with grown up jewelry.
If you ask, I bet you can take something home.
Books and toys
for every age hiding in every nook and cranny.
Come again. Soon. Before you have time to grow too much.
Broken crayons that still can color. Dried out play
dough stuck in the carpet. Lego towers and Cinderella castles.
Playing kitchen. Stringing beads. Eating little marshmallows.
Wooden train tracks that figure eight. Cartoons always on.
Neighbors that share.
Water might be the best thing that ever happened to you.
Planning. Waiting. Until it was our turn. We are ready to move.
We fell in love with this house—we filled its
walls with love.
It’s time to move on. Bittersweet. I
have already decided to plant some daffodils along the tree line in our new