Moving to a New House and a Song About Home
The blessings came in waves
and could be felt for days
O, how my bones still shake at your names
In sweat we set the stones
in blood we brick the roads
a holy breaking comes for every home
Give me your hand, we’ll climb up the balcony
Ditch the front row and sway with the symphony
Make as much noise and be as we want to be
Your voice in my voice and hands are the canopy
Feel the old rhythm play what’s inside of me
The fields are glories now, the fields are glories now
So guide your wild eyes down
The promise in the pain, the code that’s in the grain
We’ll move beneath the weight ‘til you raise
When I was a child, around this time of year on the orchard my dad would prune all the apples trees. I would help look for branches that were crossed, or growing in at strange angles. We would then clip off the offending branches and sometimes prop them with these little red supports to help them grow straight so that they could get the best light possible and eventually grow the best fruit.
Tim and I are moving to a new house in 10 days. We bought a “fixer upper” in the middle of town near a big park. It’s a MUCH bigger house in a nice quiet neighborhood. We weren’t really planning on moving yet, but then suddenly everything fell into line at the same time, like it does.
This whole moving thing is crazy… crazy exhausting, crazy nerve wracking, crazy exciting, and crazy scary.
Ten years we have lived in this house I am sitting in right now.
I know where every light switch is and where to step over the crooked floor boards.
I know the name of every plant in the garden,
why there is a funny hole in the kitchen screen,
how to walk in the middle of the night so the squeaking floor doesn’t wake the children,
the funny trick to the bathroom door downstairs,
and the story behind most of the nail holes on the walls.
It’s where I found out I was pregnant for the first time and where I brought each of my four babies home to. It’s the place where we’ve had so many wonderful Christmases, Thanksgiving feasts, and simple, every day meals.
It’s where my children took their first steps, laughed their first laughs, and tried their first foods.
It’s also where Harriet broke her leg,
where the basement flooded too many times,
where I had my anxiety breakdown,
where Tim and I had our most difficult fights,
where we had belongings stolen off our front porch,
and had to call the cops on the neighbors so many times.
This house is old. It’s been around more than 100 years.
It really has seen its fair share of marital fights and make ups.
It’s flooded but it’s dried back out.
It’s been cold and drafty and also cozy and safe.
I hope it will be around for at least 100 more years. I hope it will be the same gift to the next residents as it has been to us. (Please take care of my planty’s!)
I am sure for this home, 10 years is just a blink. But it feels so significant to me.
Somehow leaving this house feels much more substantial then leaving high school or leaving college. I suppose if you look at it that way, those were only four year institutions. This home has been ten of mine.
Ten years of themed birthday parties and late night hard conversations with friends sitting on the kitchen floor (the best place for those kinds of talks),
nights pacing back and forth with wakeful babies,
ten years of pinching pennies to patch the wear and tear of everyday life,
of having tea on the front porch,
hosting cooking clubs and wedding showers,
years with miscarriages, mistakes, and misadventures.
All the rhythms of our days and what I know have been centered in this place for ten years.
You can hear it in my lists… It is breaking me to leave. It feels like a close friend.
And I am scared.
Scared this new home won’t be me.
Scared I’ll hate it.
Scared something will happen to the kids and I’ll somehow blame this decision.
I am scared it will change me. Change us.
And yet it’s time.
Time to move on, time to adventure out, time to try something new, try our hand at starting with a blank canvas, try this new place out. It’s time to move.
Time passes so damn fast, doesn’t it?
My babies are getting bigger. It comes to the end of the day and I wonder. Wonder if I did it right, wonder if I could have played it out differently, wonder if this is it, wonder are we centering our lives on the right things? Wonder if we are making the right choice.
10 days. We are moving in 10 days.
So I’ve been obsessing over this new place. This new house.
It’s not the one I would have picked. I did not like it at first.
I love old and history and craftsmanship.
This is black shag carpet which was recently cleaned by Carpet Cleaning Hendersonville and popcorn ceilings. And florescent lights. And 80s. On a cul-de-sac.
So I have created every pinterest board, design mood board, photoshopped room, shopping budget, detailed plan I can possibly do with out actually living there.
And I am starting to see it.
See the lovely that could be revealed there.
I know I can make it beautiful.
I know WE will make it beautiful.
I think about how it’s only about a block from a huge green space,
and a pool,
and how I found rhubarb sprouting up near the fence,
and how this one room feels like the barn I grew up in,
and how the layout is perfect for us,
and how we will have room to spread out,
and be able to have people over more easily,
and host house concerts,
and how I want to give every room its own theme,
and how we are going to start off by pitching tents and camping in the great room,
and so many other new things.
It will be a challenge to start from a blank slate.
But we can’t wait. We are so excited.
And still, the packing and processing all the memories and moments sucks. It is such an emotionally wrecking experience.
Is this pruning?
Pruning is painful but good. It helps us grow straight and true so we can bear more fruit.
The truth is that I am scared about not being able to find the light switches,
and whether I can hear the playroom from the kitchen,
and having to use a 1980’s electric stove for the next ten years,
and life on a cul-de-sac,
and even more that feeling of being exhausted and wanting to go home and not being able to.
But then I take that step back.
I am reminded of my white privilege and how we are going to be living in a mansion compared to the rest of the world, and how millions of refugees can’t ever go home again, and I feel stupid. Stupid white suburban mom. Ha.
You make it work and you make it beautiful and you invite people into the mess,
because it is NOT about it being beautiful.
And it is NOT about it being ugly.
And whether it is HERE or THERE doesn’t matter.
It is about WE. And US. And TOGETHER. And HOME. And LOVE in the best way we can.
And so, let’s adventure on family.
I admit I was nervous for you too! Your old home was so special. But this house has incredible potential, especially with you at the helm! It is not your typical bittersweet home and you are going to make it even less so – wonderfully you.
I’m probably going to regret writing this later, since it’s a more exposed than I like to be, but let me do this while the inspiration strikes: I wish I could express to you, Betony, and Tim, and your family, how much your lives and contributions to this (small?) world we thrive in matters to us (me) and what an influence you have had. I have been deeply moved by your art and your words, in all their various forms. It feels a little creepy, actually. We have so much of your art and influences around us all the time, like ghosts, that our places are a little like a shrine to your work, yet we really hardly know you, and yet we know you deeply. Your lives overflow and resonate, and even here, on a Monday morning in my office, I am moved and inspired and hopeful, for all of us. So, thank you. At the very least, thank you. And, God bless you. And, maybe, someday, we can have real conversations across tables filled with tasty foods and joy. Meanwhile, this blog and your art on our walls and phones will suffice. God bless, please God, your new home and all the ways it will become a source of much needed hope and comfort for you and yours, especially, but also for we all of us who are distant beneficiaries of your lives.