My girls and I moved into our home 4 years and 7 months ago, and tomorrow (or later today, I should say) we move out and on to a new life in a new home. I'm too tired to find the words for everything I want to say about what this home has meant to us, but it's too momentous an occasion to let it slip by without some acknowledgment.
When we moved in, I was a wreck. My relationship of 16 years had ended and for the first time in my adult life, I was alone. Or not quite. Alone with my daughters - 2 and 5 years old - who depended on me to figure this new life out, which seemed a tall order when I had no idea who I even was anymore.
The first night I moved in was New Year's Eve and, with the girls at their father's as it was 'his' night (a bizarre concept then and even now), I felt truly alone. At midnight, I took off my wedding ring and told myself in my bravest voice that I was going to be okay, not really believing it but knowing that those two little girls needed me to try. I recently came across a piece I wrote a few years ago about that turning point in my life and moving into this home. In it I wrote: "I found a new, ghost-less home, warm and bright with a playground nearby. It would do. The walls looked thick enough to withstand my heartbreak and its alt-folk soundtrack."
I wrote not too long ago about how much has changed for me since that time, so I won't repeat myself here. I am leaving this home a different woman, and a very grateful one. I'm grateful for so many blessings in my life, not the least of which has been this home that has been my sanctuary.
Tonight at midnight, I took a moment to say thank you. I even left a note. Several months, perhaps a year or so, after I moved in, I decided to paint my bedroom and in doing so came across a note that someone had written on the wall inside the closet, up above the closet door. It is faint and difficult to decipher in the photo. It reads: "My 2 beautiful babies have blessed this home, and have created so many wonderful memories for me within its walls. Me. 10/21/03". I painted around it, and later discovered that there were dates and names - presumably those of her (I'm assuming "her") children - written on the walls inside the closets of the other two bedrooms. It continues to fill me with such warmth to know that they loved this home, too.
So tonight, before they went to bed, my girls scrawled their names and the date inside their closets, right beside "Sydni" and "Noah". And at midnight, I climbed up on a chair and added my note to the wall in my closet, soon to belong to someone else. I didn't have time to think ahead about what to write, to plan things out as I always like to. I just went with what came from my heart in the moment: "This has been our home for 4 1/2 years. It is where I healed, and where my daughters and I have grown. It has been full of love, and we are leaving with so many happy memories that we made here within these walls. This is a special place, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. Kirsi July 29/17".
As I sit here tonight, in this home for the last time, I am thinking about those happy memories. My girls are now 7 and 9. They've grown so much here. And they can't wait for the new bunkbed in the new room they'll be sleeping in tomorrow night and the big back yard and mostly the cat that they think we are getting soon (that yes, we are probably getting soon). But I know that they will remember this place as fondly as I will, and we will go on to make new memories in our new home.
The tenants moving in after us are a mother and child. I hope some day they come across our notes and the ones from before us, and they add their own and speak of the love and joy they found here, too. There's plenty of room for more love and joy and gratitude.