Leaving the House Where My Kids Grew Up

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We’re leaving the house where my kids grew up, at least partially.

We’re leaving the house where my baby became a toddler. We’re leaving the house where my oldest, seemingly overnight, grew into a little girl.

It’s where my kids made memories.

This carpet is where she crawled for the first time; it’s where the tooth fairy first visited.

This house had arguments and fast lovemaking after kids fell asleep; hard-fought battles over nothing in particular that disintegrated into dust under a table where this family sat every night to eat dinner—or to pick at dinner and ask to be excused. (This house held an angry mother who demanded kids ask to be excused.)

This house held parents united in both love and frustration, joined in teaching children how to be good people to others, while also being kind to themselves.

This house held clogged toilets.

This house is where a cake didn’t rise and was thrown in the garbage. This house is where a dad decided to make the best apple pie ever for a mom who wanted some freaking apple pie. This house was a home. This house held a family. This house was where kids made memories.

Will they randomly recall, in the middle of a conversation when they’re 37, how the sunlight splashed across the beige carpet and set up a warm spot for us to practice yoga and watch TV and play dolls? Will they remember standing on my own grandmother’s pine chairs to reach a sink to help wash dishes and make pizza every Friday night? Will a song bring back how we “kitchen danced” to loud music from my old iPod?

This isn’t the first time our family has moved—we’ve traveled, what feels like a lot. I hope we’re done. I hope we’re finally “home.”

I’ve talked to my kids about what “home” really is; I’ve shared with them that where we are together is “home”; that “home” is anywhere on God’s soil where we feel loved, and safe, and grounded.

I don’t know if my kids always feel safe here. I don’t know how they’ll grow to relive Mommy’s temper or when Daddy and Mommy didn’t get along. Will they look back and know we tried to display how love exists alongside conflict? Will they still hear the times I said “Fuck” out loud instead of inside my own head?

This house had passion.

This house had boredom.

This house had our family.

This house is not our family; this house is not our memories.

This new house isn’t our family either.

We’re a flesh intertwinement of physical needs, and schedule tangles; of hair knots in the shower, and tiptoeing through the kitchen to make coffee as a family sleeps. We’re kisses goodnight and good morning hugs. We’re more than a space holding us together.

We’re more than memories.

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