I just took my Christmas tree down yesterday. I had literally almost forgotten it was there. Significant, because about a week and a half ago, I was sitting in the family room of our little lake house, feeling as if my Christmas tree was going to eat me. A bit of a dream to live down the street from Lake Erie, my husband and I had stretched every last bit of space out of our ranch home. So much so, that with Christmas decorations out this past holiday season, we had no idea where Santa was going to put the presents.
That’s been home. Crammed in and close-knit, but beach access. In such a rush to get the keys to our new house down the road, I never thought about the sentimental Christmas morning we’d have if we didn’t move before then. Turned out, we didn’t get the keys until two days after Christmas. My crazy self had been ready to move the Christmas tree at a moment’s notice for weeks, so my first rush of emotion was disappointment. Then, a good friend pointed out it’d be our last Christmas morning in our little lake house.
“DAD! HE WAS HERE!! QUICK! YOU GO GET MOM! I’LL GET LO!”
Jim got to watch the whole thing unfold. Though him getting up to go to the bathroom woke her up, he swears she ran right by him without even seeing him. Right for the tree. So excited to see if Santa came.
After a morning full of present madness, I took off for my Christmas morning run. As I went down to the beach to stretch afterwards, it hit me. After weeks of wondering when the last time I’d be standing there after a run would be, that was it. Watching the sunrise over Lake Erie every morning has kept me as grounded as my daily run. It makes it easy to remember to thank God for my blessings every morning when I’m standing on a beach watching the sun come up over the lake. It’s beautiful. How can you have a bad day after that?
My daughters both learned how to walk on that beach. Lo tried to eat a fish, Brianne drew faces on rocks with Grandpa. I pulled my kids down the street on their little red sled so many times to play in the snow on the beach. Family rock skipping contestes. My sister-in-law’s Christmas card picture almost every year. The girls collected so many rocks, that I’m still moving them over to the new house in buckets. I can’t let them go. They’re too much a piece of this family.
Sure enough, as a blizzard moved in, that did end up being the last time I ran to the end of Canton Ave to stretch after my run. 2 days later, we got the keys to the new house, and an hour later, my shoes were displayed neatly on my new shoe rack in my new closet. (First time ever I could see all my shoes at once.) My kids watched two whole movies in the truckster while I frantically loaded and unloaded boxes…ending with a pizza party with my 2 girlies on the floor of our new house.
With every cherished memory from the old house, there’s a new one forming here. Like, Lo, so confused about which potty to run to when she has to go that she refuses to wear pants. Brianne, being so excited to see her new room put together for the first time…and Lo immdiately hating hers.
“Do you like your new room, Lo?” I asked her….”NO.” Nice.
It’s not just my kids who run around in circles through all the open space, but my husband, too. And my girls, not used to having stairs in thier house, rolled down the second day we were here. A bunch of little thumps and two big ones…then…
“Mom!” I rolled down the stairs, bumped into Lo Lo, and we both rolled down to the very bottom!” I guess it takes 101 “use the railing’s” before they actually do…
It’s been an adjustment. Now that I realize how crammed in we were in our cute little house, I don’t know how we pulled it off for so long. We didn’t buy one single piece of furniture when we moved …yet we went from one floor to two and a basement. Totally insane. I took my Christmas tree down yesterday and had to replace it with…nothing. No piece of furniture that was stashed in the attic or the shed for the season. No pack and play, bouncy toy or baby swing…just empty space. There’s a few of those that will never see a piece of furniture. Just because.
Even the cat has an improved life. Instead of having to weave her way through the furnace, the hot water heater, the mop bucket and the trash can to find her litter box, she has a cat door into the laundry room. Right. A laundry room. It’s not in my kichen. That’s a–freaking–mazing.
We started off 2013 falling asleep on the couch, my 4 year old making sure we stayed awake for midnight. I guess, in the grand scheme of new memories, that’s the direction mine are going. My kids are growing up. Brianne will be in Kindergarden next year. She’s talking back and refusing to wear any outfit I pick out for her to school. It’s the beginning of a new era. As my girls fight with each other over who’s door stays shut and who’s stays open…at two and four…I know I’m going to be grateful for all this new space.
Today, as I pulled the van into the garage, I heard my daughter, Brianne, say from the back seat…
“Ahhh…There’s no place like home.”
Granted, my girls are infatuated with The Wizard of Oz right now…right down to my oldest having a pair of her own ruby slippers…because we can’t ‘half-do’ anything in this family. Over the top…always… Which could be why it struck an overly sentimental chord in me today. A little much that it brought a tear to my eye? Not in our house. Not right now. Not when the top two sentences out of my husband and I’s mouths are,
“I can’t believe this is our house. I can’t believe we live here.”
I miss the pile of sand under my running shoes at the front door. My fingers are crossed that my neighbors across the street with the lake view don’t mind a visitor every morning at sunrise….but feel so blessed. With more in this life than anything I could have thought to pray for. So…very…blessed.
Happy New Year.