Lately, I've been playing "Landslide" over and over again. Not necessarily the iconic Fleetwood Mac classic, but the version by the Dixie Chicks. Natalie Maines' voice pierces through the air like an ice pick and cuts at the very core of my heart. This song has always given me goosebumps, but more in the past few months than in any time prior.
We're supposed to begin the long and laborious process of selling our beloved country cottage in January. We've spoken to our neighbors and former landlords, the ones we purchased the home from five years ago as bright-eyed newlyweds. We've hired the contractor and paid the deposit on the architect's time. We've dug up old blueprints and line drawings, spent hours envisioning how we want our new home to look and browsed online for decor ideas much longer than we ever anticipated.
Still, throughout it all, this old home has stood watching. I know it's silly to give properties human characteristics, but this place is so full of personality that it's difficult not to. The archways hold the pencil markings of my two toddlers. The kitchen has participated in way more dance parties than it ever intended to. The floors have supported curious little feet and weary mother ones in the wee hours of the morning. They creak alongside us, a cacophony of sighs and celebrations.
This new place sits far off the road, on the back side of family land. It's everything I've wanted in a home since I was little, growing up beside my cousins in my own backyard paradise. This home has a long driveway perfect for riding a bike, established trees and acres to explore. It has two creeks, solar panels and a skylight on the roof, a vast swath of woods just begging for a playground, cornfields on both sides and a sod field in the back. It's got views for days, but I haven't given my heart over to it yet.
Why? I didn't bring my babies home there. I haven't lied awake there and made a to-do list for the next day in my head. I haven't swung on that front porch swing with a fast-food sweet tea in one hand, a preschool workbook in the other, and the most precious four-year-old girl by my side. I haven't done laundry there on a Saturday or mailed Christmas cards from a kitchen table within its walls.
I've done all of those things, and so much more, in my home now. We lived here for three years before moving away for nine hard months and eventually making the easy decision to buy it for good. We worked with the best building team in the county and spent two years pouring ourselves into every detail of every square inch. I was expecting my firstborn when we began the project and expecting my second-born when we finished it. A labor of love, indeed.
Though at times I thought I'd rip my hair out at the snail's pace in which that process moved, the end result was a million times worth it. This home is precisely what my heart would look like if someone ripped it from my chest and asked me to give it a house. It's quirky. The floors are uneven in places, the basement gets wet after a hard rain even though we finished it off fully, and the baseboards could stand a solid paint job. Yet, this is where I've stayed up all night rocking sleepy kids to dreamland. It's where I've read a billion bedtime stories, watched a thousand cartoons and indulged in many late-night television show marathons with my husband.
At the end of the day, I know a home is only made and defined by the people within it. I know I'm taking the memories with me and making some more. Still, I can't help but feel a tinge of sadness as this new season of life officially ramps up. I can't wait to see what's on the horizon and I fully believe it's bright for our family. Yet, I keep looking behind me, down the road I'm currently walking on, trying my best to leave a trail of footprints in case I ever need to find my way back.