We had as much control over it as one would have over stopping a wave from crashing; we saw the car coming, we saw our dog running, and moments later my husband and I experienced a shock we hope to never feel again. We lost our beloved Sarah on the last day in our old house, our first house.
It was built in the 1950’s and we nearly burned it down while making chicken nuggets in a drunken stupor on the night of our wedding, five years ago. In the years between then and now, we have learned many lessons within those walls and created a family under that roof.
The moving process started with smiles–that giddy almost-out-of-school feeling intertwined with the promise of change—something new, something better.
But first, I should backtrack… toward the beginning.
Before I was married, buying a home scared me. You see, in my 20’s life was all about exploring. I was, as Bob Dylan says, a rolling stone, never that interested in putting down roots. I let life lead me, wherever and whenever. It was freedom to me—true freedom. I saw many lands, experienced loads of different cultures, road in the back of pick-up trucks filled with so many people piled on top of one another that you could not see the flatbed.
But, then, life led me to another new experience—love, family. And there I was, forced to embrace the responsibility and permanency of home ownership. We got Sarah soon after we got our home. Our boys came soon after that. I began to understand the cliché phrase that home is where the heart is.
And then, motivated by practical things like better school districts, we decided to move.
Our home sold the first day it was on the market to the first couple who came to view it. Like I said, it all started with smiles, as easy and smooth as a knife cutting through butter. We laughed a lot, especially in the faces of those who questioned if it was too soon. After all, I was–and still am– recovering from having 13 levels of my spine fused.
Then we stopped laughing. Then shit got real. Boxes didn’t fill themselves. Our boys didn’t feed themselves (or dress themselves, or change themselves, or bathe themselves). While we sold nearly all of our furniture, which was no easy feat, we were completely discouraged by all the stuff hiding out in corners and cupboards and under beds, collecting like sand on a beach over the five beautiful years we spent there. We made the mistake of not forking out the cash to hire movers and instead left a small pile in front of our house with a homemade sign that read “free” and a mattress on the curb. We drove away in tears of sadness, happiness, and even a little fear in knowing that what felt like the end was actually a new beginning and that we would be at the starting line on an empty tank of gas.
While our new house was being gutted, we adopted the life of vagabonds and it wasn’t nearly as freeing as I remembered it to be. My boys are ages 1 and 3. Life on the road was once so liberating, but as a mother I felt more like a circus juggler flinging back snacks and random toys from happy meals that I felt guilty and disgusted for purchasing.
But the thing about life is that it is made up of moments. It’s not about the beginning, the middle, or even the end; it’s about the in-between. All the pictures included in this post are from the in-between: between homes, between states, between sunrise and sunset. They don’t tell the story of our contractor leaving for Mexico, of our truck breaking down on the freeway, or of the morning Van woke up pale and listless. But these memories–these moments in time–are beautiful because, like life itself, they are a reminder that’s it’s not about the destination but the moments on the journey.
The waves continue to build and crash but I am drawn not to the size of the wave or the impact of the crash, but instead to the way the water retracts from the shoreline, pulling back with such force only to rebuild once again.