My room was bright yellow, with a built-in bed and adorable hand-made shelves and drawers. I think it was originally a giant walk-in closet. Later, my dad expanded the room and I spent many nights star-gazing through my sky-window and dreaming of being an adult and all the adventures I'd go on. I had a cat, Puss-n-Boots, who mothered many, many other cats, and we had an Irish Setter, Rusty. I believe we had chickens, but Rusty put an end to that experiment quickly. We also had a huge garden at one point. We ate mulberries and raspberries and currants, played in the fields and woods in the summer, and went sledding and ice-skating outside at the neighbors in the winter.
This last year has been a roller-coaster, and although I'm feeling it acutely, I know others have felt it as much or more. The house, which had been on the market for a few years, suddenly became a burden for my mom, whose health was compromised this year. Getting it sold became a priority, but sifting through 40 years (or more) worth of memories was painful for her. I think the moment I felt like the worst daughter ever was watching her breathing turn ragged and her hands shake after an intense bout of purging. To us, they were plastic tchotckes and old, worthless vases. To her they were reminders of so many friends and loved ones. After starting, though, she really became ruthless and got rid of so much. By the time she got down to the things that reminded us of our childhood lives in that lovely home, she was ready to move on. We still weren't. But now that the papers are signed and she's in her new space, she is relieved and happy. I hear it in her voice and am so glad. I'm relieved, too, that she has space for us to visit because it's always home wherever she is. I remember staying at our old house one weekend while she was away and feeling lost without her there. I also remember feeling like the house needed fresh air breathed into it. Updating. People using all the rooms and the earth outside. I so very much wanted it to be us. I wonder if the two little girls moving in today will love it as much as we did. I think they will. Maybe they'll even find the treasure that's allegedly buried in the cellar.