Children's Fashion Workshop

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I'm Erin.  Gardening addict, incurable maker, insatiable reader, closet author, chronicler of childhood, wanderer, wonderer.  I'm glad you've come to sit a while with me.

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Offhand comments:

9.y.o.-"I have three ant bites.  Can I use this stuff I found in the first aid kit on them?  It's called ant-acid." 

9.y.o.-"It would be awesome if we had a 3-d printer because then we could print anything.  Like...like a tiny little model of Angkor Wat!"

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Wednesday
Mar042015

home again

The breeze blowing around the corner of the house was soft and full of unshed rain, and just that temperature where you can tell it's gotten tired of being brisk and fierce and is beginning to remember spring.  The spring peepers, down at the creek, woke up just the day after we arrived here, and call for their tiny mates day and night in a chorus like little bells.  

I stood with my four-year-old as she hacked merrily at the overgrown Knockout roses in front of the house. I'd been itching to get my hands (and pruners) on them since I first saw them, and this was the first pause in the madness of inspecting/signing/packing/cleaning/unpacking that I'd been able to take.  It's so good, the marathon of building a nest around an already-growing family, and so, so exhausting.  The hundreds of little decisions-Where would it be best to put the silverware?  Who gets which bedroom?  How can children who need clean bedding in the night find it without humiliation?-live near the heart of this most important work, homemaking.  And so we are, right now, making another home. 

We bought the house from an older couple who had raised their only son through his teenage years here.  There's a certain comforting anonymity to be found when you're dealing with the owners of a house you want to buy through the telephone game of two realtors.  I had hoped to keep that anonymity intact, but we ended up sitting across from them at the closing.  There was only time for them to tell us a few words about the home that was theirs at the beginning of the meeting, ours at the end.  The pond is full of fish, they said.  Our son used to ride his paddleboat there.  The water from the well is so cold you have to be careful watering sensitive plants with it.  You have children? We know you will love it.  We just know you're going to love it.  

I wanted so badly to just be buying a house.  We all tried so hard to be formal and distant, but we knew we were buying someone's home.  

Over the next few days, as I stood amid the wreckage of moving in, the former lady of the house showed up a couple of times.  Was there any mail for us, she asked, and oh, could I take this garden gnome that we forgot?  While here she told me what the window blinds had cost and asked hopefully whether I liked them.  She told me how the moonlight came through one high window and fell across her bed, and asked if, when she moves out of the apartment she's in now, she could come back and divide the pink lilies in the front flowerbed with me since they were her grandmother's.

For a moment I thought about telling her, honey, all those documents and that big check we gave you mean I'm the lady of this house now.  But then I remembered the ache of leaving a home where one's children have played, where one knows all the little quirks of land and house.  The countless hours spent just in the kitchen give a kind of gravity to one's time in a house that ought to stand for something.  I thought of the homes that I've loved and let go, and of the hopes that I would doubtless gush all over their new owners if we had the chance to meet.  Please, I would say.  Love it.  I don't know you, but I know, I hope, you will love it.  I did.  I do still.  I know just where the moonlight will fall in each of those houses tonight.

Come back in the fall, I told her.  We'll divide the lilies together.

I know that those of you who have been with me since Georgia are chuckling now.  Is this, my grandmother and parents wanted to know, the same house we lived in before?  It does look strikingly similar, as we all remarked when we first saw the listing photos, of which the picture above is one.  Well, I asked them, how do you think we knew it was home?

~E~

Reader Comments (9)

I am so happy for you all. What a beautiful home and lots of places to roam. Time for a visit I guess :)

March 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Yes it is, Shannon! I am looking down the driveway for you...

March 7, 2015 | Registered CommenterErin

I"M SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!! And it's super beautiful!!! And so southern!!! <sniff, sniff> I'm so happy for you!

I think often of my house in NC and worry that it isn't being loved enough. It was bought (thank goodness it was bought, right?) by an older couple that are rarely seen by any of my old neighbors. I would totally gush all over them if I ever saw them...

It's so strange between buyers and sellers. That house had been on the market quite a while before they lowered the price and we came along. The second time I went to see it the wife was sitting out on the screened porch. (Please tell me you have a screened porch???) We had decided to make an offer on the house at this point and just making chit-chat conversation to her I supposed that the wet bar could be taken out. I could tell she was completely shocked that I would even dare suggest such a thing. The wet bar was convenient. The wet bar was wonderful!! (We moved into the house the end of Sept and the wet bar was demolished Thanksgiving. Turned out we could and did live very well without it... ;) )

March 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

Ha ha ha! We took a wet bar out of our CA house. We just had no use for it, although it was a major selling point for the house. Wine cooler and everything. To us it just took up space in the living room that we needed for bookshelves.

No screened porch, unfortunately, but big back and front porches, so we'll see. We may be bumping "screen in the porch" up to the top of the priority list by the time mosquito season comes.

March 18, 2015 | Registered CommenterErin

Oh Erin! Reading this makes me almost cry! I'm so happy for you and your awesome family. I was wondering if you'd find the perfect house. And reading your "Create the Kind of World" post makes me wish, again, that I'd followed my own crazy train of thought when we first moved into our house here and taken cookies around like I was planning. We've been here 7 years now, taking cookies around to introduce ourselves seems a little ridiculous at this point... (Maybe I should suck it up and do it anyway...)

When my mom moved back to Kansas (with all my siblings but me: I was grown) there was a wet bar in her basement. She took great joy in turning it into an ice cream bar. Swapped out the beer keg with a root beer keg. Made the empty fish tank into a faux cupcake display. Of course, being in the basement, it wasn't really in the way of any book shelves.

March 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Yes! Exactly that kind of wet bar!! But ours was in the family room RIGHT NEXT TO THE KITCHEN! And it literally reduced the usable space in the family room by almost half, even though it's foodprint was probably closer to 1/9th of the room. Taking it out was a decision that we never regretted, even though we lived with an area rug over that hole in the carpet for years afterwards...

You're gonna want screen...I'm just saying.... ;)

March 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

Amy-I LOVE the idea of an ice cream bar! That is brilliant.

Cindy-Yes, hole in the carpet. We had that, and a little patch of hardwood, to deal with too. Eventually we just tore that carpet all out of that room because it was white and we are, well, messy.

March 19, 2015 | Registered CommenterErin

Gosh, you are such a good writer. Your ability to convey feelings is amazing and I feel your emotions strongly as I read this post. Funny thing is that we are in the middle of the process of moving now and this post about knowing all the creeks and where the moonlight falls is just beautiful and so touching. We've outgrown our house and I'm pained to leave a place where my babies were born and two of them learned to walk. So many memories, but such is life..time to move on. Thank you for sharing! Change is so very difficult for me and although I'm just 30 years old, people have commented how I'm like an old lady when it comes to change. It's a hard thing.

May 9, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCandace

Candace, I know that pain so well! Good luck with the move. Good things will come from it too, remember that.
~E~

May 15, 2015 | Registered CommenterErin

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