Monday, November 2, 2009

to the new owners

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'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.


  1. Oh Em, I'm gonna have myself a good cry right here, right now, thinking about the fact that pretty soon, I won't get to see you whenever I want. Boo hoo. I LOVE how you poignant and fresh. Thank you.

  2. p.s. this is NOT Matt. :) But it would be really funny if it was.

  3. I love this! So many fun memories...thank you for sharing with all of us!

  4. It's funny how much a home can come to mean to us. Especially when it welcomes your brand new infant home for the first time, you put your blood, sweat and tears into fixing and updating things, and it holds countless treasured memories in it. The wonderful thing is that it's not so much the house, but the people in it that make it home.

  5. beautiful. and I feel the same way, even though we still have another two years here. it just makes me sad to think about leaving a house that's been so formative for us. even just the fact that we've brought home two (probably three by the time we move) babies here makes my heart ache to think about leaving.

  6. Emily, you have such a gift! That's exactly how I felt leaving our little home. Good luck on your new adventures. How exciting that you get to return to Oregon soon!

  7. As I sit here crying, I realize why I miss my home there so much. So many memories are made in a home, and it's hard to leave a place that was so special. And maybe it's also because I have no place to call home right now. I'm so happy that everything has worked out with selling your house. Oregon just keeps getting closer!

  8. "matt's" posts are so funny. I was sitting here thinking to myself.. what kind of love affair with someone named matt has emily been having?? :)

    so beautiful. just beautiful em! maybe someday I'll actually own a home and feel some of those same feelings for a house. but even tho I haven't, your writing makes me feel like I have. what a gift with words you hold. I'm sad for you guys leaving that little house that you so beautifully made into a lovely home.

  9. you are such an eloquent writer. what sweet memories and thoughts of your old home, and i'm sure, wherever you guys end up, much like your ward, you will find yourself in the same struggle to move on. thanks for the reality check. and btw, lily is so precious in her pig tails. i love them!

  10. Weeping, weeping.....happy/sad tears....

    But think of all the memories you have yet to make in your new home, wherever it may be! (there's plenty in my neighborhood, by the way....) Henry's first day of kindergarten, etc. etc. Can't wait to see y'all.

    We still love to drive by our first home, and this post made me think about how hard I cried the day we painted over the measuring chart we etched in the bathroom door in pencil, marking how fast (and tall) our little girls grew up. We have another one in our 'new' house, of course, but there certainly is something about making those first little marks on any house.

  11. P.S. -- this particular post would make a very, endearing children's picture book. Just saying. You oughtta' think about it.

  12. P.P.S. -- and my word verification on that last comment was "happy". Not even kidding! It's a sign!

  13. Emily, I love to read you! Happysad for you as you face a huge change in life!

  14. i love this post. it is so sweet.

  15. Oh...the tears. Emily, this was a beautiful love letter. I wish I'd written one about our last house before I noticed that they ripped out all of the trees and filled the front yard with messy sunflowers! ;) Chin up, babygirl. Your home is your people.

  16. I can't remember how I found your page, but I stop by every once in a while to read. I've never commented - I'm sorry.

    But, oh, I just had to comment because this was a beautiful post. My hubby is seriously talking about moving, but I don't want to leave this little house we've called home for the past 5 years, even to a bigger, newer one. A home can be such a special place.
    thanks for the lovely writing.

  17. Like all the rest, I'm in tears. Lovely, lovely.
    It was the part that Henry's wall's whisper Chrysanthemum (you gave me that book for Christmas when we were roomies and I still have the little note you wrote to me tucked away on the inside cover)...that's when my eyes got foggy and wet :)
    I miss you.

  18. what a beautiful and touching post! Can't wait to hear more of your adventures.

  19. This post made me get all teary-eyed, and I don't even own a house. So sweet.