Tuesday, May 1, 2012

At Home

As we are making our way closer and closer to the end of our  move, I have been thinking a lot about friendship. How it lives and grows and takes up space inside of us each and every day.  Friendship is alive, that I know for sure. And a few times since we at last made a firm decision to go, I’ve thought my heart would break clean in two at the thought of leaving my friends.

My house-my loyal little house, that seemed like a mansion 12 years ago, has been the best of friend. We have been filling her with memories and daily life and babies for so long and I can’t help but cry now that she is empty. I can see an outline on the wall, where our family pictures hung and there is an echo when we talk to each other now, without couches and dressers and rugs to absorb our voices. The sight of my empty home,  takes my breath away every time I walk back in and I have to remind myself, “Oh yeah, we’re moving, oh yeah, we’re closing the chapter of newlyweds, first home and babies.” And then I breathe in deep, brace my heart and tell myself for the one hundredth time that this is right, that I will be OK and that it won’t hurt forever. 
I was twenty years old when Scott and I signed papers on this house, over my round middle. Kaden was born one month later, the same week that we broke ground.

We came up to see the construction progress as much as we could, it was a time of almost constant firsts in our new life together, new marriage, new baby, new house.

By April the carpet was in and the appliances were installed, we had an inspection and then-on April 29, 2000, Scott and I plus our tiny little-5 month old son, moved in. We had no dressers,  no chairs, no window coverings and no grass in the back yard but boy,  were we happy to be home.

 It almost seems like a dream now, a life that I know a lot about but wasn’t really mine.  Long days of caring for my baby, while Scott spent entire days away with our only car, trying to secure our spot in the world. I had only construction workers and expansive dessert lots for neighbors and so I wore out the sidewalk that led from here to our small neighborhood park and I longed for friends and dreamed of the day that my loneliness would be less lonely. I can remember purposely answering the phone to tela-marketers just so I’d have someone to talk to, just to hear another adult voice.

Those long days turned into weeks and now it seems like in the very next instant one baby had turned into 3 and no second car- turned into a mini-van. All of sudden friends surrounded us on all sides.  Life sped up…my grocery bill got bigger, teeth that we had only just celebrated coming in, were starting to fall out and even the first day of kindergarten came before I was entirely ready.  Two more babies were added; we served in callings and were released from them. We saw old friends move out and new friends move in. A freeway was paved just outside our neighborhood, changing our daily entrance and exits.  A mall went in and a new Temple was announced. I have lovingly cleaned and kept each space here in my home thousands of times; I know every corner, every ledge, every closet, every nook and every imperfection by heart. Time as it always does…has flown and nothing around us has stood still.  But every day, we have come home. Home to the same house, on the same street. I have put my babies to bed in familiar rooms and served meals on a familiar table. I have fed hungry newborns and sang them lullabies in the stillness of the night, countless times, protected by these walls.  Home, this house of ours, has been a refuge, it has been peace and comfort and safety and solace. It has shielded us when we needed privacy, it has watched us laugh and cry, celebrate and grieve. It has held secrets of occasional fights and new pregnancies and burnt dinners. It has welcomed us time and time again and provided a place for growing and raising and loving. Somehow this house, is just as a part of me now as any “thing” ever has been. It has a soul- because we gave it one.
In just a few days, I will walk the empty rooms of our home one by one, and they will be all mine for the last time. I can already see events and memories passing in waves through my mind. Each room holds a treasure trove of goodness and happiness, first steps, long talks and thousands of pieces of priceless ordinary life. I will touch each space and thank Heaven for our beautiful life here.

It was not a chance that we chose this place after weeks and weeks of looking for a home, all those years ago.  That choice not only gave us a place to create our lives and our family but it also gave us friends. Friends that have helped us raise our children, helped us put up Christmas lights, fed us, watched out for us, babysat for us, lent us ingredients for cookies, ladders for repairs and everything in between, they have carpooled with us, called and cared for us, served us and taught us. I have loved their babies and they have loved mine, we have shared a million conversations and plenty of tears, we have strengthened each other and cleaned each other’s kitchens. We have shared morning sickness and nursing stories and  I know that extra miles between us will change things, but I also know that nothing could ever really change things. Sure, I won’t be waving at them as we pass each other several times a day. I won’t be chatting with them in the hallways at church, and it will hurt to face that reality, but friends that have helped you for more than a decade, with day-to-day mothering,  never leave your life entirely. And for that I am thankful.
I found this today and it seemed to be just the message of comfort that I needed,

In Friendship…we think we have chosen our peer. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting—any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking, no chances.
A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends “You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another.” The Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each the beauties of others."
--C.S. Lewis

There have been so so many beauties in my life here. I can name each of them, even the ones that have already gone away to new lives, in different houses with different neighbors. What a gift these treasured friends are in my life and, my goodness, how they’ve blessed me.
So in a few days when my address changes for the first time in exactly 12 years, it will hurt. A part of my heart will stay behind, right here where my newborns first came home and I will grieve the end of this beautiful chapter. But every now and then when schedules match up and the afternoon gives itself away, I will find myself here again, with familiar faces and warm voices - it will seem as though nothing ever changed and  I will once again, feel right at home.


Katie said...

I love your writing. You are so talented. Well said. Good luck with the move!

Anna said...

We will miss you so much.

Shelley said...

Oh my goodness... I just bawled and bawled! I know I'm not right next door, but I have loved getting to know you! I'm going to miss you terribly! I haven't allowed myself to think about it... but then you go on and write such a beautiful story, and now it's just too much. :( All will be well! It's an exciting change for sure. Love you friend!

stacy said...

i have a lump in my throat just thinking about all of this. even though i didn't live in a house before i moved to AZ i had my 3 babies in CA in the same ward with the same people surrounding me and it was so hard to leave that life and the walls of my tiny apartment. i am so sad that you guys are leaving and i know that tristan has been sick about it. i will miss your amazing lessons and i have to tell you that i LOVE your laugh, if o'm talking to you and you laugh i feel "cool" i know that's weird to say but i think that you're one of the "cool" girls. :) julianne, i know that change is so hard and so beautiful and is the very thing that makes us amazing....i must be SO amazing! hahahah!:) i'm excited that you share so much here so that we can follow your new adventure. the benintendis really love the heywood family and are going to miss having you near.

weaverfam said...

I can't even begin to express how lucky I feel to call you my friend. Thank goodness you blog so I can still be on the receiving end of your advice. We will miss you!

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