A Woman Divided

The Neighbourhood KidsI am a woman divided. With the kids leaving home, I have had a hankering to sell our home. I have been thinking that we could get a smaller home with a smaller yard in a more walkable neighbourhood. I have been thinking that I would feel less lonely staying by myself in a small cozy home than rattling around in a big empty house.  It would lessen our ecological footprint.  There would be less house to clean and a smaller yard to maintain.  I have been thinking about this for a few years; thinking that we would do it as soon as my youngest leaves home for university.

But as that time draws near, I feel more ambivalent.  I look around the house and see all of the work we have done on the house.  We renovated the basement; retiled the roof, replaced the air conditioner and the furnace; installed energy-efficient windows, sliding doors and toilets; replaced the bathtubs, the rugs, and the flooring in the kitchen.  My stomach sinks when I think about leaving a home into which we have invested so much time, energy and money.

Hammock in the Garden KP-2010When I am thinking with my heart, I see all of the living that has gone on inside this house.  I think of family dinners at the kitchen table, thanksgiving meals with extended family, meals shared with friends, birthdays celebrated, Christmas mornings, Easter hunts.  I think of Dan working in the basement and me working upstairs.  I see the four of us crowded into our bed reading each night together. I remember the first day we brought Sam, our dog, home from the pound; the day we introduced Sam to our kitten, Cocoa.

This house has been well used; each space holds a story.  When we moved here 13 years ago, there were eight kids on the street in the same age range; six kids from three other homes and our two. These kids have painted pictures in our kitchen, built go-carts in our garage, made whirlpools in our above-ground pool, played school under our basement stairs, made chalk pictures on our driveway, played road hockey on the street in front of our house. These kids, who once required feeding, hugs and bandages have grown into young men and women who tower over me; people who drive; young adults who are heading out into the world.

Water Garden, Aug 2013-kpAs the spring unfolds, and the yard comes back to life, I think about all of the hours I have spent in the garden; weeding, moving and trimming bushes, planting and transplanting flowers, spreading mulch, watering flowers, and mowing the lawn. I think about how peaceful and beautiful our yard is.  I think about mornings sitting by our water garden and summer evenings swinging in the hammock.

I have been in such as rush to leave this house, this yard, this neighbourhood.  In my desire to control the fall that is coming, I have not thought about what I would be sacrificing.  Do I really think the loss of our child-rearing years could be softened by leaving the house in which we were a family?  Would it be so much easier to start a new phase of our lives in a new home?  Or would I mourn the loss of this home into which we have put so much of ourselves; a home that evokes so many memories?  A wise friend once told me that if I don’t know what to do, maybe it is not time to decide.

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About kp

I am a woman and a mother, a sister and a wife. I have called myself a socialist and a feminist, an environmentalist and an activist, a pagan and an atheist. But, at this stage in my life, none of these labels feel right. I am searching; trying to find an inner calm; trying to make peace with life's disappointments; trying to answer the big questions in my own small life.
This entry was posted in Empty Nest, Healing & Compassion, Parenting & Family, Stages of Life, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Woman Divided

  1. I can fully appreciate the ambivalence of your post. I’m the kind of person who, once settled, doesn’t move lightly. And I’ve always wished my parents still had their family home. Still, there is the other side, that feels the pull of change. Who knows. Maybe your desire to move has not so much been about the house, but about other things that have had you unsettled? Maybe, if you are feeling more at ease with those other things, you find yourself happier where you are? Either way, your friend does sound wise…

  2. Oriah says:

    Lovely Kim- and yes, it sounds like it’s time to just be with the changes in this place you love. You will know when it is time to leave, but for now it sounds like this place holds the dreams of an earlier time that needs to be honoured even as it is passing. Much love, Oriah

    • kp says:

      Thanks Oriah. I think you have put it so beautifully….Did you recognize your own advice, from a time long past, in this post? Kim

      • Oriah says:

        lol- no I did not. So glad someone else remembers when I have a momentary flash of wisdom. Just wish I could remember these gems when the situation is in my own life! :-)

  3. Smiling at your last words about advice… I think if in doubt then don’t… that has always been my motto.. When something ‘Feels’ right then follow it…
    Your Garden lovely…… .. Sending you a Hug your way
    Sue xox

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