My family and I have been living in our current home for seven and a half years.
This is the longest I have ever lived in any one home (continuously) in my life.
I have lived in many homes since college.
An apartment that backed to beautiful woods in Tennessee,
then a rented townhouse in an area that our elders considered practically a ghetto;
where police cars were a common occurrence, along with music at loud volumes with a pulsing bass beat.
But, we were on our own and paying rent and we were heady with our success.
Then, in North Carolina, a cute little rented brick townhome that was my daughter's first residence.
Rob would walk in the door each evening and I would greet him with a red-faced screaming infant in my arms.
I would thrust her at him, turn on my heel and disappear to my bedroom to cry hot tears into my pillow.
This is where we would take the squalling little tyrant-infant on walks in a Snugglie,
numb with exhaustion.
It was on one of these walks that we passed by another young couple, on a walk with their happy, smiling infant in a stroller. The mother smiled at me with a Madonna smile and sighed, "Isn't this the best time of your life?"
I wanted TO. KILL. HER.
If I were not too sleep deprived, I would sprinted after her and GIVEN her my infant.
Not long after that, Kate began to smile, to suck her thumb, to jump in her Johnny Jump Up
and I began to get small glimmers as to what that woman could have possibly meant.
Then, a small unassuming rented rancher in a North Carolina suburb.
Our family life really began to crystallize there- a toddler who learned to crawl.
A lovely screened porch where she would play, while I learned about email in the adjoining family room.
Playgroups, Barney videos and Mom's Clubs and finally, I truly began to feel like a mother.
Looking back now, I can see that I was in a mild depression when I had Kate and my life was turned upside down.
All my friends worked, I knew no other mothers and had no idea what to do with this infant who seemed to scream ALL THE TIME.
I pulled myself up enough to make the effort to reach out.. and made some of my closest friends.
Then, a move up the coast and to our current state.
We've bounced around a bit here too:
a rented townhouse while we got the lay of the land,
then our first foray into home ownership with our very own townhouse.
Again, rich memories of excitement and anticipation as it was built.
Baby Chris being born and coming home.
A toddler and an infant playing in the finished basement with the gas fireplace crackling
or Kate running round and round the island of our large country kitchen
with a bald baby Chris tearing after her,
hell on wheels in his little walker.
Such a very sweet time.
Then, I was pregnant with Trey and our townhouse was feeling very small.
Time to move on up!
Again, giddy anticipation as our first REAL, single family home was built.
In many ways, this was probably my favorite HOUSE.
It had its drawbacks to be certain, but the large bedrooms, roomy bathrooms and finished basement
were perfect for our family.
And in that home we became a family of three kids and two adults.
Our lives were hectic and busy but again, a sweet time.
Kate and Chris had best friends that lived right next door.
This was both a blessing and a curse.
This neighborhood had TONS of kids in it.
So many that with two bus stops in our neighborhood, the entire bus was completely full,
sometimes with three kids to a seat.
The great thing: tons of kids to play with.
The downside: houses crammed together with no privacy and kids who were always off playing with their friends.
We literally could not pull into the driveway before kids would be coming over.
Sometimes there were kids already in our backyard before we even GOT home!
And then, our last move.
Our current home with lots of trees and lots of privacy.
A home in an established neighborhood with folks that have been here for all the years since the houses were built.
On the flip side, a neighborhood with next-to-no kids.
For the past six years or so, there have been few if any kids for my kids to play with.
Chris especially used to cry about how much he missed his friends William and Cameron
and I felt awful to moving him to a neighborhood with no kids.
Oh, the guilt!
But then, I noticed something happening.
Chris, having no other same age peers, began to notice and play with Trey.
The two boys quickly became fast and close friends
and I realized that had we stayed in our previous neighborhood, with all the kids,
our kids would have had many friends but would probably not be terribly close to EACH OTHER.
And now, seven years later, I look out my bedroom window on this unseasonably warm February day.
Four boys are playing basketball- my 13 and 10 year old sons, and two other boys that have somehow found us
and become friends.
The doorbell rings again regularly now with various boys looking for a pickup game of basketball or to throw a football or baseball around.
And I am so pleased.
Pleased that there are kids from the neighborhood who come over and play
but also deeply pleased that my boys, who are friends and brothers, go out and play with them.. together.
Rain on the ranch
29 minutes ago