if there are a couple of dry spaghetti noodles peeking out from beneath the base boards in the pantry, it’s because Henry dumped out an entire package of Barilla when he got the idea in his head that those noodles would make good little swords
and if there is a clippie on the floor in the corner of the back bedroom - it's lily's, she probably pulled it out so she could twirl her hair to soothe herself to sleep, and it ended up on the floor, with all the others
and if there is water on the bathroom floor, it's because henry is a splasher and because on long afternoons, when we'd exhausted all our options for creativity and fun, i'd say, "into the bath with you!" and the kids would play in the tub 'til they were pruney and water-logged
and if there are little wisps of hair stuck to the tile grout in the kitchen, it’s because i cut nate's hair in there, late at night. and he did ridiculous dances in the window as if the neighbors were watching. and we talked about our dreams and laughed about the funny moments of the day and about how glad we were not to shell out $30 every six weeks for his personal maintenance
and if the stain on the kitchen cabinets isn’t perfectly blended, and if there are drips of cinnamon red on the microwave and in the corner of the formica (there are) - it’s because Nate refinished the cabinets himself. it was a surprise. he did it all while i was out of town. one of the sweetest chapters of our love story.
and if the corners of the kitchen floor tiles don't match up quite squarely - it's because we cut and laid them with our untrained hands. elton john sang to us about latitude and sacrifice at unseemly hours of the morning as we chipped away at the project that we thought might never end
and if the toilets don't flush properly, I'm sorry; it's probably my fault for improperly disposing of my floss
and if there are salty outlines of tears on the bathroom floor, it's because that was always the venue for my late-night bawl fests (made sense to stay close to the tissue)
and if the kitchen smells like popcorn on friday nights - it’s because we popped a batch on the stovetop almost weekly
and if the phone rings at 6ish, it will be nate telling you that he's on his way home. at that point, you should start dinner
and if there is a skiff of wheat flour in the crack between the end of the counter and the side of the fridge, it's because we baked every loaf we ate for the past eight months...
and if there are honey drips on the cupboards in that corner, it's because Henry helped
and if you hear two little beeps of a honda civic's horn, it's because nate's garage door opener bounced out of the little basket on the back of his scooter on his way to the train station one morning, and he now needs you to open the garage for him whenever he comes home
and if a giggle seeps out from the bedroom wall at midnight - it’s because i get punchy when I’m tired and nate made me laugh almost nightly with all manner of childish shenanigans that would never be funny to a rational being at a normal hour
and if the carpet on his side of the bed is more worn than the carpet on my side - it's because he kneels on the floor and i kneel on the bed
and if there is a faint pitter patter of anxious feet and the distant treble of elated squeals when the garage door hums open in the evening, it's because the two little children who lived there before you knew that sound meant their daddy was home
and if it smells like oatmeal in the morning, it's because that was my breakfast of choice in the chilly months
and if you unearth a matchbox car in the backyard, it's because before there was grass back there, it was a big dirt pit and there was a little boy who would get his bottom dirty every single day playing with diggers (forks) and buckets (cups) and cars out there
and if there are permanent fingerprints and water drips on the back door, it's because we played "in the wet" and ate sticky popsicles and made goofy-piggy faces on the back door on summer afternoons
and if the walls in henry’s room whisper the words to chrysanthemum and owen and mike mulligan and rumplestiltskin - it’s because we read those stories dozens of times in the dim glow of his bedtime room (my favorite room in the whole house, when it was clean)
and if the office paint looks skewampus - that's because it is. and it's because it was poorly mixed. and because we were too dang tired to care about the imperfections by the third coat
and if the color of the walls in the master bedroom is the best blue you've ever loved...you're welcome.
and if that little house tells you some of our secrets...please, keep them.
and if it gives you a warm, tender place to hold your happiness and make your memories and grow your family, well, then you'll understand why we had ourselves a good, hard cry in the bathroom of our new place on Saturday night.