Over the weekend, the kids and I went room to room and shared stories, memories, fondness for things that happened in each one over the last 11 years. As excited as we are to move to the new house tomorrow, we are varying degrees of sadness to leave this one.
This is the place where, pregnant with Eliana, my first husband and I saw so much possibility – a spacious home in which to raise our growing family, a generous yard in which our children could play and grow, a neighborhood in which we felt at home.
This is the place where two of my babies came home from the hospital.
This is the place where all three of my babies fit in the bathtub, laughing, splashing, loving.
This is the place where we extended the table to fit more and more people for a Shabbat meal, and it’s the place where we welcomed 75 guests on a balmy November Sunday for our party celebrating the arrival of our daughter.
This is also the place where my ex and I sulked into corners, fought and simmered. It’s the place where we ruminated over the dark spots in our marriage and ultimately, it’s the place where that marriage fell apart.
It’s the home my ex packed up and left. It’s the home where I learned to be a single mother and where I learned to be alone when they were with their father.
It’s where I claimed my independence, finally, in the middle of my 30s, and it’s the place where I started to truly love my life, and myself.
This is the place where I fell in love again and added to my family in the form of Dan and Grace.
This is the place where we grew out of the neighborhood as we made changes in our observances. It’s the home where we met kind neighbors and the home where we welcomed friends and family for a second wedding celebration.
We’ve celebrated numerous birthdays here and preschool graduations. My children have run through sprinklers in the yard and screamed from the top of the swing set. We’ve shoveled snow and made snow angels and they learned to ride bicycles on the sidewalk out front.
Tomorrow, we leave this physical structure, but pack the memories into the recesses of our minds as we step into a new adventure.
Tomorrow, we move into a new house, a house that is all of ours, all six of us, and a house in a neighborhood with our friends and families like us.
This house, for all the good it has held over the last 11 years, never had enough light. I knew it from day one, and we even brought in an architect to see about adding windows in the south-facing brick wall. Too expensive, we said way back then, and so we set about making the best of it, opening the windows to bring in the cool breezes and appreciating the shade from all the tall trees surrounding us.
But it has been a dark place.
The new house is full of light. No need to add windows. It’s well-insulated, top to bottom, so no more cowering under blankets just to stay warm.
The new house is where we are meant to be at this point in life.
It’s been a great journey for 11 years, and I am so grateful to have dwelled here.
As we created the little ceremony to encapsulate and honor all the wonderful memories from living here, I also searched for a more formal ritual to bless the new house. In Judaism, we are taught to bless the threshold of our home with a mezuzah, a beautiful case holding a sacred scroll of blessings inside.
“As I affix this mezuzah I also affix and affirm a new life in a new home. May it always be firmly based on truth. May this home be a reflection of inner truth and may it be a place of hospitality extended with love and sincerity.”
“Life is no straight and easy corridor along which we travel free and unhampered. But always, if we have faith, God will open a door for us, not perhaps one that we ourselves would ever have thought of, but one that will ultimately prove good for us.” (A.J. Cronin)
“May the door of this home be wide enough to receive those who hunger for love or are lonely for friendship.”
“May it welcome those who have cares to unburden, thanks to express, hopes to nurture.”
“May this door be too high to admit complacency, selfishness, and harshness.”
“And may this be the doorway to a rich and meaningful life.”