I’m sitting here surrounding by boxes. Piles and piles of boxes. I’ve wanted this day to arrive for so long yet now that it’s here, I’m having a hard time identifying my feelings. On one hand, I am so relieved and happy to be leaving a house that has so much pain and hurt etched in the walls. On the other hand, for 7 years this was my home. The home I hoped to live out the rest of my days in, the home I wanted to bring my grandchildren to, the home I wanted to be mine. A safe haven, a place of peace and love from a world filled with war and hate.
I sit here surrounded by boxes of things. Some things packed away with care and others thrown in just to finish packing. And I look around at all that isn’t coming with us, dammit if I didn’t try to take that jacuzzi tub with me. I keep reminding myself, they’re just things. Things make a house, not a home. And while it’s true, saying that discredits so much of my efforts to do just that. The picture frame I hung to make the house seem loved, the carpets I bought to make the house feel warm, the vases and odds and ends to bring my personality into the home. These were all efforts I made to make my house into a home.
But as I sit here surrounded by things, I realize how many of these things I used to to ignore my reality. How often I traded the short term happiness of a Winner’s deal for the the ultimate happiness of my heart and soul. After all, it’s easier to forget your sadness when you’re washing your hands on perfectly coordinated hand towels. Making my home look beautiful, while definitely a source of pride, was a distraction from the ugliness I felt inside. Sitting here with these boxes I am reminded of all of this.
I thought this day would come and I would be sitting here in tears, but I am not sure what to feel. I am so excited to move to our new home and create new memories and new beginnings. There isn’t one piece of me that isn’t looking forward to that. But at the same time, if I’m being honest, I am mourning the loss of my home as I knew it. Saying goodbye to all the hopes and dreams I had for this house. Putting on a brave face for my kids, showing them that life is about so much more than this and how lucky and blessed we are still.
But in my heart, I’m shedding tears alongside them. Wishing life could have worked out differently. I’m petrified of the unknown, of what life in my own house will look like. And while I am excited to move on, it doesn’t mean I’m also not sad to walk away. There are some walks we have to do and we make the best of them because we are resilient and strong. But make no mistake, it’s a walk we’d all rather not have to choose.
Fast forward six months, two moving days and countless yards of packing tape later, and life is grand.
This is where i walk down the street and bump into my neighbour who turns out to be my high school crush, who incidentally is freshly divorced. With the music beginning to play and the camera panning out, our eyes share a long, knowing look and the credits roll. Leaving the audience happy and safe knowing that love has triumphed once more. This may be accurate if the rights to my life are ever bought and the housing market stabilizes to ensure a single man could conceivably live across the street from me. But for now, while life isn’t Hollywood, it’s still pretty great.
We’ve all settled into our new home and new roles. The older kids taking on more responsibilities and me as Sgt. ‘turns these lights off- do you know what I pay for electricity??’. I’ve had to learn more about home maintenance than I ever knew before, like changing filters which are still in my front hall closet- I pray my landlord doesn’t see this. This move was definitely one of the scarier parts of divorce for me, the fear of the unknown, the fear of not knowing what life would look like. And I’m not going to pretend it’s all rainbows and unicorns all the time. There are too many days I wish there was someone to pick up the slack, to install a lock or to fix a broken fridge.
But it’s in those days when I get the mail and see my name on the bills, that I am able to be that person for myself. Just like I picked up and demanded more from life, just as I installed a new outlook on myself and life, and just as I’m gluing back the pieces of a broken heart…I can do this too.