About a week ago, I returned to our old house for the inspection and to hand over our keys. Yes, I know we moved house like forever ago (four weeks, actually) but we had a bizarrely long crossover period due to the delight that was our mortgage granting process. Anyhoo.
In a way it was good because it took us about three days to clean the joint but it was annoying for two obvious reasons. One, we had to hope the spiders didn’t take over in the three weeks that we were out of there (I went back with a broom before the inspection for this reason).
Two, it was difficult to emotionally transition to fully embracing the new house as our new home with the other one hanging about in our subconscious like an ex you can’t let go. I say “our”. Obviously, I was only the only one finding this a problem. Laurence has been in full project mode since we got here. Talitha seems to accept that wherever the cats are, that’s where our home is.
So it was fitting that I went back to the old house on my own. With my camera. Taking pictures from across the street like a crazy person. Getting a bit tearful looking at that cramped bathroom and running my fingers over familiar bumps in the walls.
I’m happy to have moved. So happy. We love our new place though it doesn’t feel completely settled just yet. Yet there were stories in that old house. They deserved a send off. So I gave it to them. I walked from room to room, remembering and whispering good-bye. And now that I’ve put that in black and white, even I’m rolling my eyes at myself. But yes, I do this sort of thing.
This was the diningroom where we inflated and filled the birth pool I’d planned to have Talitha in. The diningroom where she did her first paintings. These are the stairs we took her up when we brought her home from the hospital. The stairs she fell down at four months, when I slipped and sent her flying. The stairs she learned to climb up and down because we never did get around to getting that second stair gate.
This is the bedroom where we spent most of the first weeks, once I’d learned how to breastfeed lying down. This is the window the rocking chair sat next to. This is the livingroom where she learned to crawl, learned to walk, said her first word. It’s where she first kissed me.
This is the garden where she first explored the snow and where she learned to water the plants. This is the kitchen where she sat on my back watching me cook dinner, where we first made cookies together, where she spent hours washing her hands. This is the freezer that held my placenta for over a year.
Then, too quickly, I handed the letting agency rep our keys and it was gone, that house of memories. The bittersweet taste seeped out of me on the journey home. By the time I’d opened our new front door, I could identify what had replaced it – relief.