On Memorial Day weekend seven years ago, the husband and I moved into the home in the country. Seven years later on the very same weekend, we moved out. Naturally, many memories were made in the place we called home; starting with finding out that our daughter was going to be moving in nine months later the very weekend we moved in. We added baby brother two years later, lots of outdoor cats, and a very short-lived experience with a puppy. I can only look back with fond memories of our time spent together in our country house; the few sad or bad memories, being far outweighed by the cheers of exciting news and laughter with those most important to us.
I haven’t had much time for reflection on these memories recently as I have simultaneously been packing, removing carpets and tile floors at the new house, and trying to keep the children alive (thank goodness for warm weather as these babies have spent a great deal of their days playing outside lately. No harm in that right?). As I shut off the kitchen light for the last time, on Thursday, it only felt right that I take a moment and say a thank you to God and to the house that sheltered us for the last near decade. As I took one last look across the kitchen, into the dining room and great room, I pictured the first steps of my little ones, I heard their shrieks of giggles as they were chased around the staircase by whatever villain was on their heels, and I saw each year pass as they grew from immobile little blobs to the small children they now are; with no traces of baby left in them.
Here are a few of the biggest stories from the times we spent within those walls:
The Night that the Lights Went Out
I will swear to you, that we once had a tornado go over our house. Whether it were truly a tornado or just a very strong wind, it was utterly terrifying and I’m sticking to my story. Only a couple of weeks after our son was born, he slumbered in the bassinet next to our bed; our daughter asleep in her room. The husband and I awoke at the same time and without saying a word we knew something was badly wrong. We shot straight up in bed and heard the loudest sound I have ever heard. Through the deafening roar of the wind we could hear our burglar alarm chirping across the house (apparently the wind was so strong it was rattling the windows, confusing the sensors as a break-in). I grabbed my son in a football hold and ran for the alarm as the husband ran for our daughter, and then we hit the basement. In hindsight, we probably looked ridiculous, but it felt like a scene from a movie, like a giant tidal wave was inches from our heels as we skirted down the stairs. No sooner than we were under cover, the storm passed, but the next day our yard showed the proof. We lost a beautiful oak tree, and the neighbors told us that lightbulbs on their porch had been sucked out of the fixtures.
Morning Sickness to End All Morning Sickness
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that nobody has done morning sickness like me. If it were a competition, I’d be the record holder. The one with the most Emmys or Heismans. During the first couple of weeks, eating was a little tough, but I mostly just didn’t have an appetite. Then someone told me some really terrible advice to try to scare me and I completely lost my nerve. This pregnancy was our Rainbow baby and I just didn’t have it in me to take undue pressure. I worried myself into a panic, panic attacks led to insomnia, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t bear to be alone because my mind would race, and when my alarm clock went off every couple of daylight hours to tell me to eat something I would panic again. I would try to eat and nearly every time, I would get sick. Then I would panic again. I threw up every meal that I tried to eat until month six, when I would only get sick occasionally. Taking the horrible information I was given, I knew that I had to continue to eat something even after I’d gotten sick. It was a miserable time for both me and the husband. Poor thing, he did a lot of babying before baby even arrived.
Learning how to Swim
Our babies have always been water babies. From the pool in our backyard, to the river, and the lake. Because water and babies can be a terrifying combo we made sure that ours took a swimming lesson a couple times a year. My aunt and uncle built our country house and as a child, I spent many many summer days playing Shark with my cousins. I also have a strong memory of my cousin trying to drown me in that same pool. Clear as day, I remember his laughter as he dunked me over and over and over in the pool as I choked and sputtered for him to stop. Thankfully, I was rescued right on time. There is just no room for error with kids in a swimming pool and I wanted to be proactive to getting my kids comfortable with water. I have never been so proud of my daughter the first time she jumped off the diving board and swam all the way across the pool as the instructor and I stood on the sidelines cheering from above. I know she would have learned at one time or another, but seeing her cross the pool, full of confidence, I knew we’d all accomplished something that day.
Visits from my Siblings
I’m ancient compared to my younger siblings, so a few years passed where we didn’t always connect. I was out of high school when some of them were still in middle school and while I was raising kids they were going to prom or graduating boot camp. I’m thankful that these days we are getting closer to being on the same level as all of them have FINALLY reached adulthood. I have amazing siblings and it makes my day when they are home. I can think of many fun memories with each of them shared within our home from the time a simple paper airplane (requested by my daughter) became a full on competition (full of innocent trash talk of course) between my little family of four, my dad, and my baby brother. When my little sister and I had a sleepover one night while the husband was out and we stayed up late gossiping and drooling over Marky Mark. When the other darling sister came home recently and we really connected at a heart level that insured our sisterhood was in a new ballgame. I was never one to throw dinner parties or host many guests, but my siblings always warmed my home and each time brought happiness to my heart.
A Close Call
I don’t know why this one is begging to be shared, but share it, I must. When tummy time was on our daily calendar, I would spread out one of the kids handmade quilts and top it with the little playmats that babes lay on these days; the ones with the different noise makers, mirrors, and mobiles that entertain them for much too long until they eventually learned to roll over and the little mat no longer held them in one spot. Well, this one spot that I would land them on was always in the middle of the living room floor. One day, my housekeepers were there and to stay out of the way the children and I would stay in the living room until they were ready to clean there and we’d go off to another part of the house. I scooped up my son from his spot on the floor as the housekeeper and I visited. As she talked, she reached her Swiffer duster up to the oversized Tiffany chandelier to wipe away the dust. No sooner than she’d touched the feather duster to the fan, she jumped back and screamed as the heavy duty fixture came crashing down. Right on top of the playmat my infant son had just been laying on. We both looked at each other as she cried. I could read in her eyes that she wasn’t crying because of the broken fan, but because of what that would have meant if my son had still been underneath as he had been only seconds before. We both knew what that would have meant. It was a close call, for sure, and one I won’t forget.
Be it that I’m out of my twenties or my kids have reached a different stage of life, but the sweat to make friends is not something I pour my energy into these days. That hasn’t always been the case though and in the early days of childrearing, I found the task of making friends absolutely brutal and heartbreaking. I was never diagnosed with Post Partum, but I would raise my glass to say that I was definitely lonely in those wee years. I feel for mommas like I once was. A stay at home mom like me has no life outside of feeding, changing diapers, and trying to keep their head above the laundry. What hope have we for connecting with the outside world? I tried. Desperately and I’m not afraid to admit it. At first, I lacked the confidence to approach a potential pal, then the social graces to keep one. Once I’d gained the confidence that is required to start up a conversation, or make the first move, if you will, the other person just didn’t seem interested. I really felt like I had tried everything, even begging to take on a part-time job just to have a little bit of a life (I’m glad I was talked out of it). Probably one of my favorite memories that took place in my home was when a girl that I’d just met called and asked if I’d like to make plans. Of course, I did. Then when she asked if she could come over RIGHT NOW, I was a little surprised, but who was I to turn her down? She came over right away and in only minutes I realized I’d met a true friend. She was an open book and I knew right away she’d been needing a friend like me. In only a few minutes this outgoing stranger became someone who would share countless hours of girl talk about mom life, life drama, and life goals.
Time to Grow Up
If growing was calculated in inches and pounds the kids did the most growing. If it were measured in personal growth, I’d say I have the most bragging rights. It’s probably true that those who are down get the most kicks, but I’ve had my share of bad kicks and I’ve come through (am I right, Freddy Mercury?). When I neared the end of my twenties, I’d notice several women talk about how great the forties were. It seemed, to these women, that once you reached forty, you became carefree and easy going. Crappy things that used to bring you down? Ain’t nobody got time for that anymore. Who cares? At first, this made me blue because I was so far away from forty, but as the year ended, I made up my mind to find a way to let go of the baggage that had tied me down for so long. I spent a long time doing some real soul searching and as I analyzed every area of my life that brought negativity, I figured out how to manage it. What I didn’t realize was happening, simultaneously, was that I was growing up; becoming me. I figured out I wasn’t stupid (as I’d been led to believe) and I wasn’t a bad person (as I’d been led to believe). I could have my own voice. My own thoughts. If I threw together a last minute kids birthday party instead of making one million princess party hats. Oh well. If I didn’t buy organic groceries every time. Meh. I could be me whether that person was someone else’s cup of tea or not. Because if not, who cares, right? Once I turned my focus to making life the best it could be for me and those in my little family, the rest of the pieces in life fit perfectly. Life is beautiful now, my friends. Thirty is the new forty!
I’m so excited to see where our new house takes us. What mischief the kids will get in to and by golly what forty will really be like. I also can’t wait to see what becomes of our now old house. I found out yesterday that a blogger that I have been following since I started Here, Let Me bought our house. Get out of here small world! I’ve been liking her pictures for months on IG and I’m nerding out that her new pictures will be in our old house!! She does amazing DIY projects at Clover Lane Blog at www.livelaughandcraft.com You simply must check it out!