I turned and looked one final time at our house in the woods. Its tall peaks and wall of windows looking out on the world. A fitting ending, as the late fall sunset lit the trademark glow of the cedar, and the trees, still clinging to their colors, blazed all around. This was the dream house, the sanctuary in the heart of suburbia, a place that took my breath away countless times. And as I turned up the driveway, it all hit home at once, and I though…”Thank God I don’t have to rake all those f**king leaves.”
I don’t know how, or when, but at some point in our four year relationship I became emotionally detached from the house. It wasn’t overt, and never negative. I think the weight of the place just piled up. It was mostly a realization that, as much as I liked the idea of being isolated, with land, and the need for a self-motivated attitude toward upkeep (and snow), the reality was that it wore me down. And never more so than in the fall, with endless weekends of raking, raking, raking. The lovely landscaping that I fell in love with was an endless chore to keep looking good, and one I quickly failed at.
And snakes. Have I mentioned snakes? They were perhaps the final straw. I liked the battle…the ‘me versus them’ narrative I created in my mind, that I would outlast them, catch every last one, and release them to a better place away from here. And I did. But as four became five, and seven became eight, I started to dread each trip into the garage. They never scared me, but they scarred me. It happened without trauma, but it was a cumulative feeling that this just wasn’t worth the struggle, and that once this chore ended I’d simply be on to the next.
Yeah, it’s just a house, I know. It wasn’t as dramatic as all that. But in hindsight that’s how it felt.
But today, as well, there were lingering memories, and they were good ones. Ky was with me, and we took one last walk through. We surveyed the playroom, where endless dodge ball games marked our days. We looked at the kitchen we’d had built and loved. The great room where we'd placed ridiculously large Christmas trees. And in the boys' rooms Ky and I pulled out the measuring tape where we’d marked four years of growth of each of the boys, and he wrote down all the measurements as I read them off.
We’ll recreate it in our new home.
Kylen was sad, the first time I think I’d seen any emotion from him about the move. He looked at his room and said, “It seems really small without anything in it.”
The thing that made it big was us.