Thursday, August 01, 2013

Memories at the Maison

**A post I wrote last summer, but got too distracted floating in my pool to finish....**

We've been spending some time at our old house, Maison du la Francaise, getting  ready for some new tenants.
I just can't sell that house. It holds too many memories. Everywhere I look I was reminded of my kids as toddlers. The sink was always filled with sippy cups and bottles. There were burp cloths and toys stuffed in the couch cushions. On many sleepless nights I would stand on our big wooden deck with a baby in my arms, swaddled up tight, whispering in their ear, the words from the story, "Goodnight Moon" and silently begging for them to sleep.
Every room contains the ghosts of my babies and I was nostalgic for those simple yet demanding days of taking care of toddlers.  I wish I could go back and talk to the toddler mama version of myself,  give her a hug,  plead with her to enjoy this time, and then whisper in her ear the very best part.... Life gets gets easier.. and harder in other ways... day you will have your very own pool and pet deer!
During those early days of child rearing, I was struggling to find a balance between keeping my life in control, living in a neat and tidy box  and learning to go with the flow.  I struggled during those early years of child rearing and having children really challenged me to find my identity.  You simply could not "go with the flow" if everything had to fit in your nice and tidy tiny little box.  One afternoon, I took the kids to the park, and Mr. Boy ran off in one direction, while AK toddled off in a different direction.  Mr. Boy is and was a fast runner, I found myself pulled in both directions.   Once I had captured both kids, I drove home in tears and we didn't leave the house for a week.  I felt like I had no control with two little ones in the outside world, they had their own ideas and opinions even though they were small in size.  All throughout the next several months I had a series of events that became the catalyst to learning to be less rigid, to live more in the moment, but I realize this is still my Achille's Heel. (You can read more about those experiences here and here.) Every so often, I find myself bringing in the sides of my nice and tidy little box a little closer and I have to remind myself that nobody was happy when I had narrow boundaries. 
I planted the avocado tree behind Mr. Boy when he was two and they were both under 3 feet tall. Now they are both big and mature.
It was deja vu watching Mr. Man fix the sprinklers in this yard. Those damn sprinklers always gave Mr. Man trouble.  I swear we spent every 4th of July working on the deck and every single Saturday was spent working on the sprinklers.
The neighbors were one of the best things about that house.  While we we painted and worked, our neighbor passed over the fence a plates of tacos.   The other neighbors played with my kids and doted on them.  We have been lucky in every place we lived to be surrounded with great neighbors.  
After our work was finished, I turned to lock the door and I couldn't help but pause and whisper some of the lines from Goodnight Moon,  "Goodnight mouse, Goodnight house, Goodnight noises everywhere" 


Anonymous said...

I had an experience like this a couple weeks ago. I actually stopped and ate a taco in the car, in front of my old house...Pre-Kentucky move, in what seems both forever ago, and yesterday. I happened to be passing the old neighborhood for the first time since moving back to Arizona and was feeling nostalgic. I even mentioned to Mike it was like watching ghosts and thinking back to my kids being little. I wanted to sneak into the back yard to see their tiny hand prints on the patio slab. Your post on this is rather timely! You are such a brilliant writer.

Anonymous said...

Kerry, it only lets me post as anon for some reason. - love you Wendy!