June 26, 2014

The Terror of Saying Goodbye

We grossly underestimated the possibilities of change. Closing will not happen on Friday. The attorney will meet us in his office on Saturday instead. Not 50 days until we move. Only 5. On Wednesday morning, we will relinquish our full-time Lafayette Parish residency and begin our permanent citizenship of the City of Leesville.

We are not prepared. Virtually nothing is boxed or labeled, and yet, the truck is reserved for Tuesday morning.

I'm not ready. Dislodging ourselves from this house will be pressured and painful. I'm not ready to take apart the scenes that have surrounded me for a quarter of my lifetime. Once the images are deconstructed, they won't be seen again. The full force of permanence is crushing.

I'm scared. Moving is indeed a form of loss, and the summation of this season is an impact I'm not quite postured to absorb.

Truthfully, these are simply a series of moments of weakness, and intellectually, I know I'm strong enough to see it through. I'm just terrified of feeling the sharp cracking of my heart as we pull out of the driveway and down the street with our abandoned home shrinking in the rear-view mirror.

June 24, 2014

Falling in Love (and signing the contract)

I'd venture to say most people are actively hunting a house when they find what they want. Not so for us. The house of our most fantastic hopes caught us completely off-guard.

For three years, Miner and I stalked the market. We probably reviewed every 4+ bedroom home ever listed in both Lafayette and Vernon parishes. Most didn't make the initial cut -- not enough square footage, no yard, no privacy, no heart. On the other hand, we watched some stellar houses come and go -- lots of square footage! (but no yard), tons of acreage! (but no square footage), perfect in every way! (but selling for your firstborn child. and your legs. both of them.). There were an abundance of beautiful homes out there, but none that ever really struck us or inspired us to action.

Three years of spectating...the sensible thing to do would have been to continue ogling but start socking away that downpayment, so when the right house did present itself, we'd be ready for it.

Honestly, I think Miner and I genuinely didn't expect to find "The House" so soon. Or so unexpectedly. Ever hopeful, but never quite convinced. Silly -- that kind of discovery is not exactly a process.

No -- for us, finding the house was like slipping yet another old, random key into the mysterious lock of our future and finding...it turned. And clicked. And opened the beautiful 3/4-lite double front doors. The House we've prayed and pined for, year after year. MLS #02-3347. Just nine photos.

And the second photo...prophetic. I jokingly remarked to Miner, "Look at the welcome mat. It's a sign! See? The house already has our name on it."
We poured over the listing photos again and again, fawning over the amenities and details.

Oh, love the portico. 
Look at those railings! 
Hardwood trees?!
The acreage! 
Jacuzzi tub?!

It was a constellation of all our little "I wish"es and so many "I wish"es we hadn't even thought of, together formed at one address. But could the reality truthfully reflect the vision?

We drove to Leesville the very same weekend and made an appointment for a viewing. Reality not only reflected the vision -- it surpassed it.

We turned up the long, wide driveway, and what we saw took my breath away. Trees all over the property, both new and mature. The shady porch and double door wreaths invited us to imagine this house as our home, our land, our piece of the earth.

Inside, the owner guided us from room to room; it took great effort for me to restrain my awe and excitement. I saw glimpses of our family occupying those bedrooms, passing each other in the halls, meeting in the kitchen for breakfast.

It's one thing to love a house for its features and character. It's quite another to look at the building and the grounds and actually see your family living there. I didn't just see our family living there -- I felt it, in my bones, in my heart, in my spirit that acknowledges the future and dusk of my life.

We would've put the house under contract that day, but the responsible thing to do was to cool off over the weekend, review our finances (which were none), and evaluate the change we'd really be accepting if we decided to purchase.

That Monday, we arranged to sign the contract, and we accepted the responsibility of coming up with a downpayment from scratch.

It's been almost two months since we toured the new house. For weeks and weeks, I've tended to practical tasks like budgeting; emailing and texting the realtor; signing, scanning, and sending documents -- in addition to parenting and homeschooling routines.  I've been well distracted from spending too much time daydreaming about what it will be like for me to brew my first cup of coffee in that kitchen, or take my first bath in that tub.

We close on the house this Friday. After that, it'll be another 50 days before we move. The eventuality feels real, but the dream is still mist and fog.

Looking at the photos of the house now, I admire it as a suitor may admire a sweetheart he intends to make his bride. He is ever in love and imagines how her hand will finally feel in his, but the thought of belonging to her, and she to him...almost too wonderful for his heart to contain. What he knows for certain is, she is The One.

June 20, 2014

When a Door is not a Door (or a jar)

We've had an antique 5-panel door (very similar to the ones pictured) for the past 10 years. It was a scavenge find, and we left it unaltered from the state in which it was discovered: chipping ivory paint, natural distress marks, bare wood where the door knob and hinges used to be.

Turned on its side, the door served as a headboard for our king-sized bed (similar to the headboard pictured, but ours was not mantle style). That was when our decor was predominantly shabby-chic/beach driftwood.

Ten years and several furniture additions later, our decor has developed into a blend of rustic and refined Old World. We've removed the headboard door in anticipation of acquiring a bed similar to the Treviso panel bed by Pulaski (pictured below). 

The rest of the house will carry the same rich, heavy textures. Sadly, I'm beginning to think the antique door will have no place in the new design scheme. 

But I love the door. Granted, it's rather anonymous. It has no sentimental value other than it's served our marital repose for the last decade. The door is a standing link to the distant past, though whose past that may be, we'll never know.

I believe the door will retain its aesthetic value, and instead of wasting it by letting it go, I'd much rather find a new purpose for it where it will fulfill its potential. (Any purpose other than a headboard.) I must research and survey.

June 17, 2014

Too Short for the High Road (at least for today)

First thing tomorrow, we're supposed to meet with an attorney to sign some related paperwork for the purchase. Originally, I'd been looking forward to the trip, but now, I'm undecided about whether or not I'll even go. We're not..."in a good place."

I preach the High Road. That is my conviction. Humility is probably at the top of my list of values. Just because it's at the top of my list, though, doesn't mean I've mastered it. Not even close. Especially when the chips are down.

I preach Forgiveness. Letting go. Even if it means making peace and walking away. I believe in forgiveness through and through. But when it comes to my most important, intimate relationship, forgiveness is at such a sad, pathetic deficit.

And yet, I don't view my weaknesses as hypocrisy. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. My values and ideals are something I will always believe in and strive to fulfill, even when my pride strangles my conviction. I recognize the truth, and I acknowledge it. But for the moment, I am in far too much pain to fight off the indignation.

Yes. I'm holding a grudge. I also know I won't hold it forever. (Three days has been the record in matters like this.) Seeing as I'm only wrapping up Day 1, the immediate future looks quite bleak.

June 9, 2014

Hoarding & Discernment

What could be more physically and emotionally taxing than sorting through every personal possession you've acquired? Especially if the primary objective is to throw overboard any excess?

I don't think I'm a hoarder in the strict sense of the word. I don't have 23 cats or 180 handbags, and the dining room is not floor-to-ceiling trash.

What does comprise my gross collections of unnecessary surplus are...
  • a (large) hope chest so full of fabric yardage and bolts that I can barely close the lid
  • a (large) coffee can stuffed full of ink pens, some over 20 years old
  • at least two bookshelves full of outdated, uninteresting books that I won't read and suspect no one else will either
  • two (large) gift bags of more gift bags and Christmas ribbon that have aged beyond use
  • oh-my-goodness...the homeschooling stuff: books, games, flashcards, learning aids, science kits, craft kits, craft supplies, cds, charts, printouts, several (large) plastic tubs containing all work for every kid for every year of their education
And why do I keep it all? Because "Someday" I "might" "need" it.

Someday -- ambiguous
Might -- hypothetical
Need -- subjective

I'm afraid. I'm afraid the day will come when I am fiercely compelled to unearth (fossilized item of your choice), and I'll no longer have it. And then I will have to endure days-maybe-weeks of self-loathing because,  "I had it but I got rid of it and now I need it."

Miner says, there are very, very few things that are irreplaceable. Can pens be replaced? Yep. And I LOVE buying pens. Can homeschooling supplies be replaced? Absolutely. Most of what is stored, is stored for a reason -- we tried it and didn't like it, the kids outgrew it, or it was never all that interesting in the first place.

Loss. I recall all the irreplaceable items of sentiment and historical value that I lost in storage years and years and years ago. I get sick to my stomach just thinking about it, so I make a point to never think about it. But among those items: the paper chronology of Dad's creative process that would eventually formulate his martial arts system, my very first diary which I kept from age 8 to 22, all other remnants of the childhood I lived and the keys to the associated memories I'll probably never be able to unlock on my own. 

Gone. And it needs to be allowed to be gone. And I need to allow myself to go away from it.

Pens and gift bags are not heirlooms or family artifacts. They really have no associative value at all. I recognize that now, and I need to spend some time letting that sink in so I can throw the damn things away.

June 6, 2014

This House

I look around at this house we've inhabited for the last 13 years. We've deeply loved it, and it's loved us back. This structure -- all brick, wood, and sheetrock -- has been a member of our family, almost mother-like in the way it's held us, protected us, hosted some of the most important events in our lives, including the wedding Miner and I anticipated for so many years.

This house has a spirit and a memory. It keeps all our moments, even the ones we've already forgotten or will forget.

For Squeak, Sprout, and Gumball, this is the only home they've ever known. As adaptable as this family has learned to become, the younger kids have never had to adapt to a transplantation. This home has been our king stability; in the shifting of everything else in life, this house has been our anchor.

2014 has been "The Year of Letting Go" (No thanks to Disney for yet another enslaving pop culture association!). I've learned to let go of my 21-year-old and allow him the fullness of his independence with no judgement or fearful admonitions from me. I've learned to let go of so much of my perfectionism and unreasonable expectations of myself and the kids. (And my husband, too!) I've learned to let go of my resentment and defenses that have done nothing but poison my marriage and rob us of our completeness for far, far too many years. I've learned to let go, too, of my death-grip dedication to Acadiana, which I have come to love and adore even more than I did Hawai'i.

In 2014, God has taught me: If I want to see the next chapters of my life the way He intended for them to be written, I'll have to find it in me to let go of my crude, incomplete visions of the future...let go of the fear and bitterness I've nurtured for the most painful settings of my past. Let go, and go ahead.

This house, I have deeply loved. I'll remember it always, and it will remember me. I may never look back -- maybe I will -- but only to say "Thank you, Home, for holding us so long and so well."