I brought a baby home to this house, and we spent a month curled up together in the June sunshine on the couch in the living room, wrapped in her pink blanket, falling in love.
I made scones in this kitchen and I finally remembered to put my name on the tray when I dropped them off for the school bake sale and the next day someone said to me “Oh! You made those scones!” and I made a friend. I decided to be brave, to have a moms breakfast after the first day of school, and I bought too much food and we talked about our families and our weddings and our lives all morning long, that day, in my dining room, until we dragged ourselves away to go pick up our kids.
I broke my thumb ripping up floor boards without checking with Erik and I chipped travertine off my vintage tile and I painted every room and made an entire chandelier out of waxed paper and pried a mantle off and sanded and stained a new one and I loved this house with my whole heart, and I felt like with everything I did I was whispering: everything will be ok.
I curled up in the backyard of this house, fetal, and said “I think I’m a danger to myself.” And I went to bed early so many times, too many times, in my beautiful bedroom full of sun, praying for sleep, panicked and sick, and prescription bottles lined my windowsill, fourteen and then fifteen and then sixteen, but I breathed and fought and worked myself back to someone who could live life and love many moments of it. And I always felt so safe in this house, even when sometimes all I wanted to do was run.
Seventeen strangers showed up, eight years ago, and something was created in this house that is one of my most proud things. Friendships and lifetimes and magic, all born that night, over sesame noodle salad and folding tables, in this house. And a week later one of those strangers showed up on my door with a latte and became one of my people, and brought birthday parties and brunches and weddings and Christmas dates and ice cream from the carton with spoons and a crappy TBS version of “Dirty Dancing”.
I watched so very very very many episodes of The Vampire Diaries in this house.
Erik and I sat on the couch all night after we said goodbye to Belle, crying and laughing and saying “she was such a good stupid good dog” and then crying again.
I raged and worried and screamed in this house, and I danced in the kitchen, and laughed so hard I couldn’t breathe, and cried and cried and cried, and only some of those times were because I wished so very much that we had a second bathroom. So many things I am not proud of happened here, and also what happened here were so many of the things I am most proud of in my life.
I grew so many tomatoes in this house, we have figs and lettuce and kale and pomegranates and lemons and oranges and limes and but the tomatoes are my heart, you should know that, I think.
I told a stranger on the internet to watch Peaky Blinders and then I watched every single movie Cillian Murphy ever made, and I absolutely did not accidentally watch “In Time” five times I don’t care what anyone tells you.
I perfected my chocolate chip recipe. I decided to never eat kale again. I let my kids lick a thousand beaters. I drank a thousand cups of tea and didn’t quite finish a thousand glasses of wine, and I shared that look with Erik across the top of a child’s head that you share when you both think something is wrong with your baby and I held Eli down when he fell off the growth chart and shoved yogurt into his mouth lying on this kitchen floor, both of us crying, and in retrospect I really should have finished more of those glasses of wine.
I sent a baby to Preschool and Kindergarten and then suddenly 3rd grade, and then Kindergarten again, so many first day of school pictures on this front porch.
I laughed this afternoon, through hugs and tears, when my neighbor came over to hug me goodbye so she wouldn’t cry in front of Eli and Katie tomorrow. There was so much crying today but I can’t be sad about this gift I got, this gift of homemade italian grandma spaghetti and a woman who was once a stranger and now says to me that we are like her kids, my children are her grandchildren, in and out of her house, wearing a path into her grass, at home in her home as they are in mine, and I know not everyone gets that, even if those eight years went gone like that, not everyone gets a person that changes their life, a stranger who becomes family, just across a lawn.
We have those same marks on the door frame in the kitchen that I think we all have, a visual record of my children growing up, changing from babies to 3rd graders, right here in this house, from barely walking to refusing to hold my hand on the way into school. And it’s too small, and it has one bathroom, and the garage should be burned down, and it’s time, and it’s good, but oh. So very many things happened here.