By Diane Hiller
I lay in bed this morning, my feelings see-sawing from dread to excitement. We are moving out of the house my husband and I built, created life in, nurtured and raised three beautiful souls in for the past twenty-two years. This was the place of many celebrations and parties with people that I cared about and mattered in my life. A launching pad for goals and dreams fulfilled. The kids grew,friends came and went; cars of teens drove up looking for my baby child who was no longer that but a stranger with a personality to match. I didn’t sleep during those years, until everyone was home safely in bed.
Such happy times they were and some not so happy, but the good outweighed the bad in my memory. God’s gift to me, kind of like forgetting the pain of childbirth once you see that precious new life in your arms screaming their head off. Feed me, take care of me, I’m yours, they would say to me with their cries. And I did, for twenty-two years in the house with the beautiful windows I picked out and the intricate lines of the ornate white molding I loved so much surrounding them as if the windows were picture frames that were framing a gorgeous view of my life. The walls were painted happy colors of joy and hope for the future, sunny yellow, nature green, flowery lilac. The stairs that had the black and gold flowered carpet I had picked out so as not to show dirt. The dirt from the gym shoes running down the stairs, the hand prints on the walls my son would touch pretending he was a Notre Dame Football player. “Play like a champion today,” he would recite before running out the door. Then there were the scratches on the wood floors where my girls would clop with their hard shoes practicing their Irish dancing steps for the next competition. I remember staying up for hours curling hair for those Feis dances. And how can I forget the maple syrup stain that my three year old toddler son made in the matter of 30 seconds, when I was distracted on the phone. By promptly taking the syrup bottle out of the cabinet, walking into the family room (accompanied eagerly by our dog) and pouring it all over the carpet. What the thought process was of that action in his little mind I will never know.
Now I was leaving, nothing left to do. I spent countless hours looking through photo albums, with the kids as I packed them carefully away. Instantly remembering the event or time it recorded. I had to laugh at some of my clothes and hair-dos of the times (what was I thinking?) The flowery pastel skirt and top, two-piece out-fits and who could forget those high-waisted jeans with white gym shoes, believe me I tried to. Oh, and the fanny pack my kids thought was hilarious. Not to mention the “big hair” I had back then.
I cried when I saw the picture of my parents on their wedding day and the ones of them with the kids at their birthday parties, their loving and adoring faces looking out from the pages. I wish they were still here, I thought through blurry eyes. Why didn’t I really appreciate that time more? I admired pictures of my gardens in their glory days when I lived outside nurturing them after my children were grown. Those were also times when I needed a diversion from life going on inside those walls. I needed beauty and accomplishment and so I dug and planted and pruned, weeded, watered and shared my flowers with friends.
Goodbye house, be as good to the new owners as you were to us. I hope they don’t accidentally dig up all of the guinea pigs and hamsters that were sent off, over the years with a service and burial by the back fence. My daughter wouldn’t like that.
I know tomorrow, I will look forward to the future and making more happy memories, but for right now the time has sadly come to leave this home. I will close the door and lock it for the last time with a click. The echoes of the past coming back to me, happy echoes I will keep in my heart forever.