Monday, July 9, 2012

The end of an era

I just had a very exhausting weekend and I'm struggling to put everything into words. Due to my family's herculean effort my parent's house is now empty. It's very surreal to walk through my childhood home and not see all the familiar furnishings and wall hangings in their proper place. 

I slept very poorly last night since the image of those empty rooms haunted me. I lay awake and tried to sear all the little quirks of the house into my brain - the sound the back door makes as it creaks open, how the front hall closet is very conducive to a good game of hide and seek, the spot at the top of the stairs where I would sit and catch a glimpse of the TV when I was supposed to be in bed, the fireplace made of field rock that my parents collected, the elaborate light switch panels wired by my dad, and how I first told J that I loved him when we were hanging out in my bedroom.

I'm having a hard time letting go, even though I didn't think I would. (Perhaps it's related to the fact that I'm in my two week wait and am thus already overly emotional). I talked to my sister last night and she pinpointed one of the reasons that I'm struggling - my kids will never be familiar with the house. My nieces and nephews have many happy memories of the house but my kids will never get to experience the same. They will never poke through my old ballet costumes, run in the yard that I enjoyed as a child, sit at my mom's kitchen table and decorate Christmas cookies, play hide and seek in the front hall closet or sit on the porch swing. I know they'll have many happy memories of their own but I'm sad that they'll never experience firsthand the tranquility and warmth of my mother's home. It's yet another loss that moves me further from my mom's presence and reminds me of my infertile state.

Speaking of infertility, yesterday my dad beckoned me to his room and thrust an old letter into my hands. It was a letter from a doctor's office informing my mom that she was a perfect candidate for Clomid. My dad seemed so pleased with himself that he had found the magic solution to my infertility. After all, if it worked for my mom it should work for me, right? Wrong. I know Clomid is not my miracle drug because I have been on it numerous times in the past, but his optimism was very touching so I thanked him for the information and tucked the letter away for safe keeping. At least I now have a link to my mom's infertile past.

I must have some of my dad's pat rack tendencies within me because I came home with far too many boxes of keepsakes. I'll have to sift through them again with a clear head to see if I really need all of them. For example, I don't think it's imperative that I save every scrap of my school artwork but I do want to keep my grandmother's china. 

One thing's for certain, after sorting through 40 years worth of clutter I have an insatiable desire to purge my entire house of all unnecessary items. I love my parent's house, I really do, but one of the main reasons that I don't want to buy it is because it's too big. I just spent the last few weeks clearing out 40 years worth of clutter from the home's numerous nooks and crannies and I never want to go through that again. If the space is there I know it will eventually be filled with a plethora of items that J and I don't really need. Our more modest sized house is much more manageable.

One thing I don't mind keeping is all the wonderful memories associated with my parent's house. 

  • Holiday feasts
  • Birthday party sleepovers on the back porch
  • Watching a pair of robins build a nest outside the kitchen window 
  • Learning to ride my bike on the driveway
  • Coming home to delicious-smelling meals 
  • Making snow angels in the backyard
  • Trying out new dance steps in the living room
  • How the lilacs only grew on the very top of the bush because the sun did not hit the entire plant
  • Assisting my mom with holiday decorating
  • The blinking glow of Christmas lights outside my bedroom window
  • Graduation parties, bridal and baby showers (My parents hosted so many parties!)
  • Movie nights with family and friends
  • Watching my nieces and nephews grow in leaps and bounds
  • Assembling my wedding invitations on the dining room table

As I recall all of this I realize how lucky I am to have had such a charmed upbringing and I wait with hopeful anticipation for the day that I can provide the same to my own children. I also am reminded that the house itself did not provide these memories - the people who lived there did. 


  1. Ann, you have endo right? It's so likely my gramma, mom and sister have it. Do you remember your mom having super painful periods?

    1. Yup, I have endo. I do remember my mom having lots of cysts but she never complained of pain on a monthly basis. She liked to keep her ailments private so I wouldn't be surprised if she suffered in silence. According to my dad she was diagnosed with PCOS but I'm sure it could be possible that she had endo as well. I know that my sister does not have either endo or PCOS. Interesting that three generations of your family have it.

    2. My aunt (mom's sister) doesn't have it. Yes, interesting, for sure. 3 generations of varying degrees of infertility and pregnancy loss... Has been a long haul for the women in my life.

  2. Ann, you write in a way that makes me feel like I lived those memories. Maybe you could write things down that you remember so that you are able to keep these things alive through stories for your children. I was sad when my mom sold my childhood home too but it just made me realize what kind of home I want to create. If you can keep a tap on those memories you will remember what mattered to you as a child and that connection to your own children will be invaluable. Make space for whatever shape your grieving is in right now. I am sending you calm thoughts for your two week wait.


    1. Thank you for your kind words. I think writing down my memories is a fabulous idea. When we were going through my mom's things I kept hoping that we would find a journal just so we could have a link to her thoughts and memories. I would love to be able to provide a cohesive journal of my life for my kids. So far I don't have any such thing, but I suppose it's never too late to start!

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