Our impending move is quickly approaching and even though we've moved many times in the past, this time is different. Moving is always an emotional experience. Leaving the wonderful neighbors, colleagues, and friends we made in various cities is always hard. But those other moves never came close to eliciting this degree of sentimentality.
Our lives changed dramatically in the past four years that we've lived in this home. We went from being two carefree young professionals to being parents. We became a family in this house. We brought our babies home to this house.
This is the family room where Josie sat perched on her trusty, giraffe-print, circular mat, for months and months and months (16 to be exact) until she became mobile. Meanwhile, Merryn was perched on that mat for about 30 seconds before she decided she'd rather be on the go and into everything, actively challenging my OCD with her hurricane force energy.
This room is my favorite. It started as an office and we decided to turn it into a playroom when we became pregnant with Merryn. Adorable hot air balloons created by Travis (aka "Crafty Dad") adorn the wall as the morning light floods in through a big window flanked with soft green curtains. The girls spend most of their day in this room, reading books, having picnics, and dancing along with the singing animal collection.
This is our patio where a big, beautiful hackberry tree shelters us from the summer sun and holds a little red baby swing that has evoked countless gummy grins. On this patio, the unmistakable sounds of a Midwestern summer evening fill the air- cheers echoing from the softball game at the park across the street, and the faint melody that trails from the ice cream truck as it beckons neighborhood children. This is where we've fired up the grill, watched fireworks, and had many late night talks over a couple of beers after the girls are fast asleep.
At the end of the hall is the nursery where our girls sleep side by side every night. Its decor is gender neutral, strategically designed to be equally welcoming to either a boy or a girl when we got the call that every adoptive parent yearns for. A giant oxygen tank and pulse oximeter serve as poignant reminders of the arduous journey that Josie traveled from her days as a medically fragile infant to a thriving toddler. Many a bedtime story has been read in that cozy brown rocker and many a morning fist bump has been extended between those cribs.
Like most formal dining rooms, this one was only used on holidays but those occasions held the most significant memories. At this dining room table, we announced our intentions to adopt a baby with Down syndrome to my mom and sister. One year later, that precious baby sat in her daddy's arms at this same table, surrounded by the adoring gazes of a family who was profoundly grateful for the blessing we had received. This is where we proudly displayed our pint-sized Christmas tree and nativity set every December, and it's where we exchanged the gifts we'd lovingly selected for each other on Christmas morning. This is also where we shared our last meal with my dad, who was painfully weak and frail from cancer, but he was determined to fulfill his promise to join us for Thanksgiving.
On one level, it's just four walls and a roof in a family-friendly neighborhood in a wholesome Midwestern town; a mere real estate listing consisting of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage. But to us, it's a sanctuary where we laughed, loved, lost, and realized our dreams. And the gravity of that, my friends, cannot be underestimated.
Going forward, we will establish another sanctuary. We will share new experiences. We will realize new dreams. But this stop along memory lane will always be sacred and forever cherished.