Recently, I moved after 11 years in a house that had become my home and my refuge from everything that annoys, irritates, or hurts me. It was the place where we truly lived, loved, had kids and watched them grow from tiny babies into independent five year olds. It was also the place where we, together as a family, celebrated our life and relationships and mourned the loss of our loved ones.
Moving in itself is a stressful process and if you are a planner like me, it is nerve wracking and seemingly never ending. In the midst of the chaos of selling our home and planning on moving to the new one, I never realized until the very end how much I had enjoyed the warmth and shelter of my humble abode. It may not have had the most updated amenities or space enough for our growing family but it was HOME. Each nook and cranny was known to me, each wall a silent spectator witnessing our life - both the triumphs and the lows. I had never realized a structure could become so dear, its presence so soothing.
Spending our last night in our home suddenly made me think of all the memories I had made in it. I would miss the entrance where the wood was a little chipped from all the times the kids had kicked it or biked over it. I would miss the kitchen where we spent so much of our time as a family and which we had lovingly remodeled a couple of years ago, choosing each option with so much care. I would miss our bedroom which had been overtaken by the arrival of our twins, undergoing multiple furniture rearrangements as bassinets gave way to cribs to toddler beds to finally moving the kids out of our room (which never really happened).
As a mother, I also worried about how my kids would take the move. My son, always looking for the next challenge and happy about exploring new spaces, was excited to move and looking forward to it. My daughter, more cautious in nature, was a little sad about us moving, asking several times if the owners of the old house were moved in already or if we could ever go back.
Moving to the new one felt like a dream. It was bigger and newer, its spaciousness a testament to our changing circumstances. Kids growing up, parents staying more often - all of them needing more room to live. However, it was not home. It will be a while before it becomes home. We will have to live our joys and fears in it, host friends and family, live through the kids messing up the walls or floors for it to truly become ours.
It has been a couple of weeks since we moved. We have had family visit; we have had friends come over. With each visit, the lines of this new structure are blurring into those of 'home'. The comfort of old furniture mixed in with new walls and paint, of the mess of toys and clothes laying around, and the mingling of family and friends in this new setting is aiding in bridging the gap between the unknown and familiar. It will be a while before I forget the charm of a home lived in for 11 years, but slowly memories of this new dwelling that I call home now are creeping in and taking root.