We're in the inspection/paper work/stressed out part of selling our house right now. (Which part about selling a home isn't stressful, though?) This is our first home we've ever owned, and which we poured our blood, sweat, and tears into. I am in no way being figurative about that, either.
I can show you the exact beam on which the Mister scraped his head so many times that he has a permanent scar from gradual removal of the layers of his scalp. Those layers could often be found still attached to that beam. (Not anymore, we do tidy that sort of thing.)
I can show you the exact spot I used to sit and sob about the disgusting bathroom that we lived with for the entire first year, where no amount of bleach and vehement scrubbing could dull the feel of perpetual dirtiness.
I can pull out the huge bucket to give you a laugh at how I used to bathe my children.
I could call to mind the campfire smoke smell that used to permeate our clothes and hair, and for which I got strange looks from the Boy's preschool teacher, who finally asked me if we'd been camping? Often? No, that was our old wood stove, that leaked smoke into the house, without heating the room very effectively. It worked so poorly that it took several hours for the ice to melt off the old single-paned windows some days.
I can tell you about the time I learned that I was a fairly badass demolition gal, when I got to siphon my rage against that hideous beast of a bathroom, and tear it all out.
Every last rotten floorboard, the flimsy metal shower, and plywood walls, yanked from their former dwelling and beaten to veritable smithereens.
I can explain to you how badly our necks and shoulders ached, from painting every inch of tongue and groove ceiling and walls by brush...two coats of primer, two coats of paint...because the sprayer didn't look as nice as the brushed paint.
That first year or so had its rough spots, but it's not only blood, sweat and tears that ties us to this place we've been calling home for the past five and a half years now. Without a doubt, we have met some truly amazing friends.
I can show you the exact spot, between ours and M and J's driveways, where we gather in the short summer months, drinking icy wine and beer, and moving our chairs to follow the sun, storing it up for those long,cold months.
I can take you to the spot where M taught us how he brews his own beer, which tastes better than any beer I've drank in the last ten years.
If you're ever feeling under the weather, we'll stop by J's, where she'll whip you up some herbal tea, and make you feel better just from being in her sweet presence.
We can swing by the lake, where we spent entire days, splashing about, floating in inner tubes, picnicking, and getting our fill of sun and laughter.
After that, we'll stop by J and H's for an evening dip in their heated-to-hot-tub temp pool, for an evening swim, ladies only most times, cocktails a must. While we're there, I'll show you where the Mister shaped his first surfboard, under J's most generous guidance.
Mustn't forget to drop by G and T's, where J and I got to share in the most beautiful, empowering home birth. And where T's abundant laughter, and generous pour of whiskey may have resulted, more than once, in an undone Mister.
We'll go view the surf mural done by the Mister, in exchange for skiing and snowboarding lessons, for the Kiddos, taught by D and T, who gave them confidence and showed them a good time.
Perhaps we'll ask for a ride on S's snowmobile, an experience of giddy delight with an undercoating of sheer terror.
We'll shout obnoxiously at the annual, astounding displays of fireworks, put on by neighbors to celebrate New Year's, and the Fourth, and sometimes for no reason other than a suddenly discovered cache of explosives.
Later, you're invited to an impromptu meal with our friends, thrown together at the last minute, with whatever ingredients were in our kitchens at the time, and I promise you, you will never eat better.
And let us not forget our own family memories.
The Boy and the Girl both learned to ride bikes around here, on heavily potholed dirt roads, none flat or even, and with several scarily curving hills that taught those Kiddos to either steer, or to careen out of control downhill, landing with a crash into the bushes.
You can come along on a hike through the woods, the ever-imaginative, wildly fantastic, kid-created scavenger hunts, treasure hunts, and Sasquatch hunts.
I'll show you the light in the Boy's eyes as he nailed the half pipe at the local skate park.
And the glow in the Girl's as she danced around the half pipe, pretending to be a fairy, of course.
And hugely, importantly, you can check out the pride we felt as we saw our place transform from a very rustic cabin, to a warm, love-filled Home.
A Home that now has double paned windows, an efficient wood stove that bangs out the heat, and a jetted tub.
Top to bottom, this place has been remade. This is an amazing feeling, to look around and say, We Did This. With our own hands, we put our hearts and souls into the making of Home. And we did it well.
To contemplate moving from this life, these memories, and these friendships, we've created up here is somewhat overwhelming. To say the least. But, there comes a time, I suppose, when the journey must continue. This is the longest we've lived in one place, let alone one country, since the Mister and I met. I never expected it to be so hard. I had not a clue that such hard work would be required in the making of a home, far from the ease of city or suburban life. Nor could I even begin to fathom how very hard it is to realize that we're leaving this life we've made, very soon.
We've watched our wee ones go from toddler-hood, to childhood here.
And we know that this Home is probably the first one they'll remember, when they're all grown up, making their own homes somewhere in the big, wide world.
I don't yet know where we'll land, but we've a lovely, tiny little spark of an idea, that began germinating there in our minds, and is now growing little taproots in our many discussions of what we envision our next adventure to be. And I know, without a doubt, we will keep these memories, these friends, and these roots to our first Home, always. I also know that the next stop on our journey will be just exactly where we're meant to be, because so far in these little lives of ours, it's all been just exactly that way.
The other day, I was explaining a bit of Robert Frost I'd scrawled on the white board, you know the one, to the Kiddos...
Two paths diverged in a wood, and I...
I took the one less traveled by.
And that has made all the difference.
"I get it."
They do get it. I love that.