I try not thinking of the D-word. Moving is hard enough without that emotional tug. Picking up stakes will be like leaving part of ourselves behind. Yet it’s undeniable. Our house is quieter these days. One son is gone. The other’s a working adult with a life of his own. He’ll be out before we know it. Then what happens?
I move around our home and can’t deny things feel different. A kitchen, once full of teenagers drinking soda and eating my banana bread, is less frantic.
The basement, once alive with guitar, bass, and drums from many youthful rock bands is still.
The living room, dining room and den have become like “flyover states,” hardly used except for company.
Real living happens in either end of our ranch-style house — the bedroom and of course the kitchen.
Even my long-awaited diva den is mostly a guest room. I thought I’d write there, but I guess I’m too used to the kitchen.
What happens when you’re no longer living in all your rooms? Is that the sign to leave? (And yes, I know there are worse problems).
Still, I look back and see how life gives clues to our future, but we only see them in hindsight.
I grew up a mile from here. As a kid, I’d ride my bike with friends down this road, barely noticing the woodsy parcel of land where someday someone would build this house.
A decade later, my late father watched this unusual structure going up. The house had a Japanese-style pagoda roof — a strange sight among the New England colonials.
Years later, after we moved in, I asked him, “Did you ever think you’d end up spending holidays here?”
He thought about this and chuckled. “No,” he said, shaking his head. “I never could’ve predicted.” How strange are the twists and turns of life.
When we were younger, my husband Randy drew a crude floor plan for his dream house on a diner napkin. He doesn’t walk well and preferred a good-sized ranch with few stairs. The home he drew was shaped like a boomerang, with bedroom wings off a central living space.
A year later I saw a picture of a house for sale in my old neighborhood. I liked the way it sat on a hill, its weathered gray shingles nestled among the trees.
When the realtor drove me up the driveway, I gasped. It was a modern-style ranch shaped like a boomerang. Inside, the rooms were spacious and sunny, perfect for our growing family. We made an offer, but lost to another bidder.
Several years went by. One day, Randy told me “THAT house” had come back on the market. The owner had relocated. It now stood empty.
One day I drove up the driveway, walking around the once-beautiful yard, now overgrown and weedy. I peeked in the windows, heartbroken, to find empty, silent rooms.
When the price came low enough, Randy and I made another offer. We were told there were other bidders. My heart sank. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing this home again.
But then came the call. The house was ours.
And I know this sounds crazy, but I swear the house picked us. Maybe it knew that crazy woman standing in the yard and peeking in the windows, loved it most.
Fourteen years have passed. Before we moved in, only adults lived here. But we came with two boisterous sons, rock bands in the basement, dogs, cats, family and friends. The house never knew what hit it, but I imagine it was happy.
Randy never wants to leave and I don’t blame him. But I can’t help wonder what life will be like here with just two of us?
And is it time to stop spending money on rooms we no longer use? Is it time to start a new chapter?
Or maybe, we’ll just know when the time’s right.
I tell myself there’s a family out there with younger kids who will love this place as much as we have.
A woman will stand in the yard and hear the rustle of leaves and feel something in her bones. And like another woman who stood there so many years ago, she’ll know she’s found her home.
Maybe that’s when I’ll know…it’s finally time to say goodbye.
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