Today is one of those days - one of many recent and one of many more to come - where life's new twists and turns have me walking out the door of several years of fond memories and unthought of heartache towards a future of Who Knows.
It isn't a fancy place, this house. And while smaller than many, it was enough; certainly more than many others hope for and at the end of the day it wasn't just stucco and wood and cement and shingles - it was our home.
This is the house that broke us, in many ways, though of course it's not only to blame - not one single thing is. But it was also the house of much happiness - where two of the three boys were born, where many Halloweens and birthdays and summers were spent, where Easter eggs were hidden and found, where dinners were made, and birthday cakes created, where oranges were picked and eaten in the yard, where swing sets were built and ignored, where gardens were planted and bloomed, where Christmas trees sat and fell, where life moved at a speed quicker than we could register - all inside these walls that were being fixed and patched and painted as we fell apart.
I slowly circle one more time in the living room. It still feels oddly full, even in its bareness. Though the smell of cardboard boxes and laundered clothes and nostalgia has left in trucks and U-Hauls, a vaguely familiar scent remains - the way the house smelled the day we got the keys - of vacancy and emptiness. It sinks in. The truth is, this house didn't break us. We did. And this house isn't haunted. We are.
It's hard to fathom that I'm taking one last look around our house and leaving it to go to my house. The newness of everything is jarring and yet exciting and the adventure of it all has its moments of hope and its share of fear.
I shut the door. I pause on the porch step, taking in this very moment, soaking in this change like sunlight on my skin, breath in my lungs. There's nothing left here for me anymore. Today is another reminder of moving onward, this time, literally. I remind myself: A house is a house but a home is what you make it so I have not just packed our clothes and photographs and books and toys but our memories too. They, though the heaviest of all the things to carry, are the easiest to move.