Dismantling the Nest

I took one last look around, searching for a stray scuff mark I’d missed with the Magic Eraser or a dust bunny in need of capturing, but all appeared to be in order. I’d swept and scrubbed, laboring to erase all traces of my messy family from the premises for the new tenants. Oh and I wanted my security deposit back, too.

I’d picked bobby pins out of the carpet upstairs in my daughter’s room, rescued a crayon from under the kitchen cabinet, and even found an old package of nighttime Pull-Ups in the back of the bathroom closet. A lot had happened in the eighteen months we’d lived in this place. I came here with a just out of Pre-K boy (who apparently still had to wear nighttime diapers…I’d forgotten all about those) and an eleven year-old girl, and I’m leaving with a First grader and a Teenager, God help me.

This has been a time of limbo for our family, living in this rented townhome while we remodeled our family home of nine years. We weren’t overly thrilled to be in this temporary situation, living with most of our possessions in boxes, wondering when we could go home. 

But we lived here, nonetheless. We loved here, cried here, celebrated here. It will always be a part of our family’s story.

I’m a pretty sensitive girl, and the gravity of this realization hovered over me like a rain cloud, heavy and deep. I also tend to live in the past, hence the only explanation for a forty-seven year-old woman listening to Funky Cold Medina in the carpool line. These two characteristics can combine into a lethal form of sentimentality when given the right fuel for the fire. And on this day, I was already exhausted from the long, hard move and trying to get our new house ready for habitation.

But here I was, at the finish line. I could finally close the book on this chapter, and start the next phase of our lives. It was time to go home.

My footsteps echoed across the hardwood floors as I walked to the door one last time. A flash of orange caught my eye from the corner of the kitchen, behind the table where my son spent countless hours creating things out of cardboard and construction paper. I bent down to pick it up and saw it was a scrap of paper with a lopsided heart drawn in pencil. And also what looked like a light saber, but I couldn’t be sure. Because that’s my boy…a true Renaissance man with an equal appreciation for matters of the heart, as well as weapons.

I went to put the scrap in my pocket to save, but then my brain told my hand to toss it in the trash bag instead. You can’t save every little thing, Jennifer. Let it go.

And I’m fine with that. As much as I’d like to keep every sweet little dropping from the pen of my kid’s hand, I really am trying to cut back. So, I take a deep breath, file that little boy heart-sword scrap away in my head and heart, and turn back around to leave for the last time.

I shut the door, turning the key in the lock, thinking to myself that I’ll never turn that lock again. And even though I wasn’t sad about that reality, I just wanted to allow myself to really feel it. And to finally catch up with the dream I’d been chasing, the dream of going home and starting fresh.

I knew there would be bigger and better scraps to be found in the corners of our new life, hearts and swords galore.


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