July 3, 2012 by talkaboutyork
…till we move. Just three weeks. How did that come round so fast? All of a sudden our future seems right in my face and it’s making me a tad claustrophobic. It’s as though all the time I thought we had stretching out before us has been concertina’d into, well, a concertina, making an imaginary jarring sound.
Over dinner tonight the boys and I discussed the impending deadline and we all agreed we would feel very sad to leave our house.
“Just like when we left South Africa and had to say goodbye to Pops,” said son2. “We cried a lot then didn’t we?”
Yes we did, I confirmed, noticing as I did so the ladder of little squiggly lines running up the dining room wall where we have measured the boys growth from age 1 (son2) to 8 (son1). I’ll have to trace that and take it with us, I mused. What will the new people think when they see it? Will they start their own for their daughter? Will they simply paint over all those years of growing, making them a permanent layer in the 300 year old history of this house? How sad that it will be lost but how lovely that my boys growth from babies to boys will be trapped in the fabric of the house forever.
We started to list all the good times we’ve had here, rattling through their respective birthday parties, summer parties, Christmases, New Year bashes, the big moments – like going to pre-school and starting big school, and the everyday simple pleasures. We also remembered the not so good moments, like the flood, the time I sprained my ankle and had to shuffle the full length of the outside of the house on my bum and the fights over the hedges.
It’s easy to see a house as just a collection of bricks and a roof – thatched in our case – that has kept us warm and dry for the last six years. But it’s not just a house. It’s a home. I was trying to figure out what a home really is, why it is that leaving a home is so sad. I realised that ‘home’ is the collective noun for a cradle of very precious memories. Moving home feels like you’re abandoning the birthplace of those memories.
I know that’s just being silly and sentimental. The memories are locked in us and we can take them anywhere. Soon this house, this village will simply become a place we once lived, hopefully with friends we still know. Perhaps in the future we’ll drive past our old house and feel a small pang of nostalgia, as we do when we drive past the house the boys were born in. Houses quickly become strangers, like a ex-lover, someone else’s to delight in.
I can guarantee that in exactly three weeks time, as we post the key through the letterbox and drive away from our home I will be sobbing. But they will be happy tears of remembrance, hopefully interspersed with excited tears as we head off to create a whole new chapter in a new home.