This is not an actual picture of my dining room, but it’s pretty damn close.
We’re moving house in six days, after fourteen years. I’m 54 years old and this is the longest I’ve lived anywhere, other than the house I grew up in. For a long time, I moved every year, maybe every couple of years. Not because I wanted to be nomadic. It just worked out that way.
What a chore packing is. I like to think I’m pretty good about weeding things out every couple of years, but I’m amazed at what we’ve amassed. I’ve lost count of the trips to Goodwill with clothing we’ll never wear again, dishes we’ll never use. My husband (having been given the basement and garage to pack) is stunned by how much stuff (my word; he used another s-word to describe it) he’s collected. He hates to throw anything away and has great plans for keeping/using/repairing any number of things. I’m leaving him to it. We’ll take stuff or not. That’s his job to figure out.
We’ve been here long enough to set down some roots, for the place to feel more like home than a way-station. We have neighbors we like. (Well, we have neighbors we don’t like, too, but that’s another story.) This is the house at least two of my step-kids think of as their real home, and the house where we raised a passel of Coast Guard cadets. Thanksgivings, Christmases, birthdays, gatherings of friends…all have graced this place and added something to it. There have been incredible joys contained by these walls, as well as our share of sorrows.
I can’t wait to leave.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing the matter with this house or the property, it’s just that we’ve…well…outgrown it. I think that’s the best way to put it. We’re older — both more settled and, in a way, less. Wanting different things than when we came.
Today is the last Saturday I will spend here. It’s an odd feeling. Stranger still will be next Friday, when we take a final stroll through these empty rooms, say goodbye, thank the house for sheltering us, and lock the door behind us for the last time.
I think it appropriate that all this takes place at the turning of the season, my favorite time of year. As this part of the world transitions away from summer, turning its face toward the coming winter and a time of rest, so too will we settle into our new den, rest, renew and, in time, turn our faces toward spring.