Have you ever read a book you couldn’t put down? A book with chapters you hated to end, yet you couldn’t wait to turn the page to the next chapter?
In two days, with a final cross of a threshold and the tiny “click” as we close the front door to our home one last time, we will end a chapter that has been a book unto itself–full of all that makes days upon days upon years a life–the start of our marriage, the births of four grandchildren, the deaths of my parents, four family weddings, hundreds (if not thousands!) of walks to “our” beautiful neighborhood pond, and, oh yes, 15 months of isolation caused by an historic pandemic—a time when we were grateful to be “trapped” in the house with a spouse who didn’t make us feel “trapped.”
When our happy seven-year chapter comes to an end on July 31, we will drive off into the sunrise on a liminal journey to a place where we will begin to write our new chapter, in Avon Lake, Ohio.
I can hear the single-word question even through the dense ethernet.
Nothing at all against Ohio, but I never thought I’d find myself living there. The reason for the move is to be closer to my kids and grandkids, and it was a tough and emotional decision to choose between the Cleveland area where my son and his family live, and Arlington, VA, where my daughter and her family live. In the end, the affordability of Cleveland won, but I’m grateful to be but a 5 hour drive away from Arlington—so much closer than we’ve been in Dallas.
The difficult decision of where to live was preceded by the rather intimidating decision of whether to leave Dallas at all. My sister and her husband are here, another sister and my brother live in Tulsa, with another sister in Santa Fe. In a few months, two of my siblings will become grandparents for the first time.
Steve has lived in Dallas for almost 40 years—perhaps the most definitive years of his life. His mother, sister and brother-in-law live here.
We both have great jobs in Dallas – (blessed to work for companies that have agreed to let us continue our jobs from home!)—and many friends we’ve made over the years.
But life is full of tough choices, and, especially after the death of my father in February, I’ve realized how quickly life passes and what a brief time we have left. I’ve seen in the last year how quickly the grandkids are growing up and changing, and I know from raising my own kids that there will come a time when their friends and activities will (how shall I say this?) make spending time with “Grandma and Pops” less of a priority.
So, as hard as it is to leave Dallas, I’m drawn to the life sustenance of my kids and grandkids, and I’m very grateful that Steve is, too.
Which brings to mind the bittersweet mental meanderings I had when I moved from the house where I raised my children—a house I lived in for 20 years—from my kids’ infancy to their entrance into colleges. I wrote a haiku then, and used it in my book, The Red Kimono:
My house is empty
But memories will remain
Echoes in my heart
I wrote this haiku after walking through my empty house, recalling all that had made it a home. As my footsteps echoed through each room, those memories echoed in my heart.
Tomorrow, the movers will come. I imagine walking out. We’ll close the door for the last time and will end yet another chapter in our lives . . . to begin another.
This home I have loved
I close the door one last time
and recall the past