Some seasons in life bring more than their fair share of finality. Moving homes certainly spurs one such season.
Thursday and Friday K and B spent their free time working on a fairy house for the front yard. They gathered wood, berries, a pine cone and other assorted items (being sure to add nothing with iron, since everyone knows fairies don't like iron). As they created together, I felt a twinge of nostalgia. While this would hopefully not be the last fairy house they created together, it would be the final one to grace the yard of our home on Setliff Place.
Saturday night, our family took our last walk to Jeni's for dessert. That morning, the movers came to finish up the packing. They accomplished in two hours what would have taken two days (or more) of steady work for J and I. Even so, we worked throughout the day, cleaning out closets that should have been cleaned out long before, hauling old paint to the recycling center, making more trips to Goodwill (where they now know me by sight). I'm sure after our move we'll still make the occasional trip to Jeni's fulfill our ice cream cravings, but it will be well out of walking distance.
Sunday afternoon, the sweet buyer of our house came by to do a walk through with me, A and K. I showed her the baby gate we're leaving for the stairs. She asked about how to clean the griddle on the stove. It was a low key, easy time. She is excited to live in this home, which makes my heart happy and was good for our girls to see. Near the end, A thanked her for buying our house. Of my children, A has been the most obviously sad about the move. She has cried on and off for two days and I have been so busy, so tired and so preoccupied that I haven't always dealt kindly with her sadness. Last night as she went to sleep I asked her to share some of her fears about moving and encouraged her to try to stop riding the loop of thoughts playing in her head. I think she spends a lot of time in her head and needs to do what she can to get out of her current thought patterns, so I let her stay up a bit late to read and left her with reminders that most of her fears would have subsided in just a few days' time. One of her final comments before I left was that The Power of Habit was true. I was thankful to hear her recognize her thinking patterns as habit - maybe that will help her choose new ones.
I have seen not only A, but B and K struggle with their emotions over the last few days. A cries, K argues, B provokes - they all mean the same thing: we are sad and scared to move. Sunday morning before church, I looked through my go-to book for blessings and ceremonies. I had hoped to find a final home blessing, some words that would help my girls say good-bye to the house while offering blessing at the same time. I paged through time and again and couldn't find the right words. As I looked through perhaps the second or third time, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit that we needed to write our own final blessing instead of finding one already written. So just before bedtime, we all gathered in the living room to offer blessings. We thought about what we've loved about this house and what we hope this home will offer its new owners.
These were our final blessings:
A: I hope you and your family have as many - if not more - memories, dreams and good times as we have had in this house. May this house protect and watch over you and your little one.We have created so many memories in this home. It has given our family room to grow into who we are as individuals and a unit. It's been a source of joy and tension (three girls and one downstairs bathroom). It's held books and readers. It has transformed from a two bedroom home with an upstairs apartment to a three bedroom home that we've used as a four bedroom one. Through it all, it has been a safe place for us to rest, to come together and to invite others into our lives. One thing I reminded A last night was that a house is just a thing. A big thing, to be sure, but what makes us who we are is not the home we live in, but who we are - collectively and individually. We will still be who we are on Wednesday morning when we wake up in a new house. And our God will still be our God.
B: I hope the piano is always loud, entertaining and in tune. I hope the desserts made in the kitchen will taste good and not be wasted.
K: I hope this house will protect the Holcomb family and be a joyful place. I hope their little girl will find her room comfy and fun.
J: I hope this house is filled with books, laughter and engaging in each others' small moments - like breakfast together on Saturday mornings, kicking the soccer ball in the backyard, walking to Sweet 16th and saying goodnight prayers.
My own: May this house give you space and place to learn to parent, to grow as a couple and to welcome friends and family. May you leave your fingerprints all over it, making it into the home your family needs and craves.
Like my eldest daughter, I have some lingering sadness about leaving this home that has served us so well and been well-loved. But as I write my final blog post from these four walls, I feel blessed. Blessed to have lived here, blessed to be selling our house to this particular couple and blessed to know they love the same God we do and He will continue to be an invited presence here.
A few final shots of our life in this house: