My parents still inhabit the place that, when pressed, I still call home. I haven't lived there as a permanent resident for almost three decades. The walls to my former room are still painted a very faint shade of lilac and the desk is still the one I stuffed my belongings in on Friday afternoons when I was supposed to clean up before I went out on any weekend adventures. If a tragedy happened I could hop on a plane and be there within the day, sleeping in the same bed where I have dreamed a thousand dreams.
As I contemplate my own child's upcoming moving day - to where, we have no idea, I know it'll be the start of saying good-bye to the place my children have called home. The house is too big, totally impractical for the life I'm planning after both children take off. When we bought the house, it provided a clever way to amortize some of our child care costs as we used one of the extra bedrooms to provide shelter for a series of au pairs.
That big house was a gift during the pandemic. It provided space to set up our shared school/office separate from sleeping spaces, gave Ed a place to take his unending phone calls on another floor (yes, his voice still rings in my head from those first few pandemic days when I wondered if his job ever allowed him to just sit quietly). But once both children are gone, I'm not sure I'll ever even walk up the steps to the second floor. (Those steps, by the way, were a gift to my children because my entire childhood I dreamed of having a room like my friend Lisa's. It was on the second floor of her home and her parents rarely checked in. She didn't have to find places to shove her stuff weekly.)
But soon it will be a burden.
So we plan to move to a little place on the Wharf and believe me when I say, I at least am holding onto the idea of having three bedrooms (providing a bed for Connor and Helen to come to, even if it's not their home) and I'm frankly not sure Ed is that concerned. If this plan comes to fruition, we will never have a basement full of dogs and babies and teens and parents and grandparents. But we will, hopefully, have a perfectly manageable life that allows for easy travel. And one that never asks me to pull a weed when I'd rather knit or sort photos or read a book.
It is clear, even in these relatively early stages of college applications, that the 18 years that have seemed like a lifetime at some moments, could never be enough.