Home means different things to different people- my husband always tells me, that to him home is just where I am, which is terribly romantic, but I must admit that to me- home is a place. Home is a place filled with, and surrounded by, the people you love, decorated with things that make you smile. Home is a place where you are safe, a place where you can be yourself- it is a place of true calm.
Brendon and I started living together just about ten years ago. I have spent ten years turning our rented upstairs apartment into our home. We painted the walls, added our large and eclectic collection of art to the walls, we moved the forks/cups/plates all around the kitchen until they found the most natural places to live. We bought bookcases, couches, and lamps over the years. We cooked dinners together- and we learned that we shouldn't actually cook together. We learned how to be adults, we learned how to make marriage work in the space between these walls.
Besides just that we brought our two daughters home from the hospital to our home. We taught Cordelia how to skip on the front walk, how to hit a baseball in the back yard. We have loved each and every one of Adeline's smiles in our home. There is not a spot I can look at in our home that doesn't hold a memory- nothing that doesn't hold feeling.
As Cordelia grew up our home began to expand beyond the walls of our apartment. Our home began to include Hyattsville itself, in the familiarity of our favorite community stores and restaurants, and to me most importantly, in our neighbors.
Our home has the most amazing neighbors. Neighbors who wave and say hello as they ride their bikes home from work or walk their dogs. Neighbors who let my kid knock on their door and invite herself in so she could chase their pets and climb into their cat beds. Neighbors whose kids learned to walk with Cordelia- I remember when they would try to walk and hold hands but they would unbalance each other and fall over. We have spent endless snow days with these families enjoying each other's company when our kids were too young to care who they played with. We have neighbors who have became friends that we can txt on a bad day who make us smile.
Hyattsville is lucky because even the parents who don't know each other personally help each other out- handing down and giving away kids items for free, asking questions on our list-serve and giving advice and help. Hyattsville has parents who volunteer for one of the strongest PTA's I have ever seen. Our home is in a community of amazing people, except it's not our home anymore.
On Tuesday we found out that we have to move by June. It came as a shock because we didn't even know that our house being sold was even a thought, and honestly we had even been told on multiple occasions that it wasn't. Our dream has always been to buy the house that contains our apartment, to make this our forever home. We have spent evenings laying in bed figuring out down payments, what colors we would paint the walls and how we would finish the basement. We talked about the best way to fence the yard for a dog and if we would have to worry about Cordelia sneaking out the window onto the porch roof. Unfortunately we are a year or two short of being able to make that dream a reality, and now our house is no longer a home, just an apartment with a nearing eviction date.
Coming home to this apartment fills me with sadness and ties my stomach into knots. I am overwhelmed by the memories, I am overwhelmed by the enormity of packing our life into boxes - of trying to figure out what needs to be purged because ten years makes for a lot of things. I am saddened by having to take Cordelia away from such a wonderful school where she has made such great friends, I am saddened by the thought of leaving my neighbors. I am fearful because I am not sure where we are going from here.
What was once our home, our safe space, is now full of negative emotions. It is now a place without calm. It is now a place where I feel betrayed because we were so blindsided. Brendon and I differ because he so often expects the worst of people so he is always surprised when people are kind but he is never surprised when they do something less than kind, I however expect everyone to be good, thoughtful, and kind- which leaves me heartbroken when they don't live up to those expectations.
Right now I am heartbroken in a way I cannot describe. After such a rough past several month it feels like life will never be calm, like we will never catch a break. Poor Cordelia has had the hardest year- she lost her cat, her Great Grandfather, and her Grandfather. She started kindergarten and had to learn how to function in a structured environment. She spent months watching her mommy be sick every day- and saw me in the hospital stuck full of IV's and attached to monitors. She got a sister and had to adjust to not being the center of attention anymore. Now she is losing her home, her school, moving away from her friends, and she knows she might never see her Great Grandmother ever again when she is used to their special time together. I know as a parent I cannot protect my children from the challenges of life- I can only prepare them to deal with them, but it hurts me to see her have to deal with so very much.
I read a quote on pinterest by Lao Tzu that said "New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings". Please hope for us that this is true because right now this is a painful ending, a painful ending to our home.