Standing outside the building, handing a check to the painter who whited out our beautiful, faux-finished walls was the last step in moving out of our old place. Nothing left now but to say good-bye.
To the bedroom, in which I lay for almost six weeks nursing a thyroid storm that took me out when we first moved in. The bedroom where Dean and I listened to the entire Harry Potter series. Where we made love countless times, where he proposed. The bedroom where my son was conceived and where I lay like a sick whale while my son happily grew inside me. The one in which we all slept for more than three years, the happiest family I could ever imagine, far happier than I ever thought I’d be.
To the office, where I received my first touring offer, and every touring offer after. Where I wrote stories and talks, started my first blog, was invited to be published. The office Dean and I and sometimes my assistant shared, bumping into each other every time we turned around. The office that housed my art desk and, later, Aidan’s changing table. The office from which I coached my clients and transformed both my and their work in the world.
The bathroom… Oh, that tiny bathroom, too small for me and Dean and then we added Aidan. The showers, the soaks, the place where Dean learned to pee and poop with someone in the room with him. There was always someone using it when you needed it. We washed Aidan’s feet in the sink.
The living room, which we rearranged a hundred times. All those countless hours sitting next to Dean on the couch watching TV. The movie marathons, and even sex on the blow up bed when Aidan was a poorly sleeping infant. The parties, the friendship, the stories shared. And Aidan’s toys…. everywhere.
The dining room, where we installed our first dining room set, where we served such good food, nourished our friends and ourselves. Where Aidan played Lego and Play-Do.
And finally the kitchen, my heart in that home, the perfect shape and size and height for me. All those dinners… Wine-braised short ribs in my then new (and utterly adored) Le Creuset dutch oven; gorgeous fruit cobblers; developing my now signature flavored custards; fresh pressed pear and ginger juice; bread baked, soups simmered; learning to can. The dropped pumpkin cheesecake.
So many memories.
The little patio where Dean laid decorative bricks so I could get out there, where we stuffed two chairs and tried to ignore the freeway noise so we could have a place to sit outside. Where I hung an incense burner and some wind chimes and planted herbs which quickly died. Where we failed twice to grow tomatoes.
Even the laundry room, out of which I fell backward out of my chair, slamming into the building and sliding down the stucco, tearing up my shoulder. The little parking lot where we jockeyed for the best place to park my then van with wheelchair ramp. The parking lot my son played in like it was a private, magical forest.
And finally, the two big trees out front, the ones who told me, “This place is for you,” the moment I drove up, who the first fall changed their leaves to such spectacular color, I knew for certain they were right. And our scruffy little cul-de-sac, with the church for Jehovah’s witnesses and the seedy landscaping on the freeway embankment, and the mix of old and new, and the trees and shrubs and sidewalk weeds winning the war against urbanization.
I sit remembering it all and, bit by bit, pulling back my energy, the pieces of me left inside and all about. It’s time to go, to really go, and be fully in our new home.
Blessings on this building and all the tenants, past, present, and future. May this home serve you at least as well as it served my family. May you laugh and grow and think and create. May you love and, everyday, thrive.