We were married the following year and, two short years after that, brought home Ethan to this very house. It's funny how the addition of an eight pound, four ounce infant shows you a thing or two about perceived home sizes. Our "just big enough" home quickly showed us just, in fact, how small it really was. With small babies come big things, and with toddlers come big messes, and with preschoolers come even bigger things that make even bigger messes. (And with cats who have claws comes the inability to ever have nice things regardless so, you know.) When Wylie died and my will to live plummeted, I put everything I had into a proposed house revamp. I needed something to focus on that wasn't infertility, that wasn't injections into my stomach or physicians scraping my insides out and spewing statistics at me about the chances I have to add another urn to my shelf. I didn't get very far, short of some paint swatches here and there and just slightly taking apart the kitchen. Carmen joined us and my desire to redo and rebuild was replaced by my desire to mother this incredible, radiant addition to our family. With gratitude and fullness and completion comes the desire to nest, and I decided on a whim that now it was time to make this house a home. I trashed our entirely-too-big sectional this weekend and replaced it with small, compact couches. With Ethan in school and Carmen napping, I took everything off the wall and out of the closets and am knee-deep in some purge-and-rearrange obsession (which currently makes it impossible to stand in my dining room) because I totally didn't have enough on my plate already, or something. We are ordering new window treatments and curtains and throw pillows and sell and swap and repeat.
I can remember signing those papers to make this house ours. I can remember coming home from our honeymoon and crashing on the entirely-too-big sectional. I can remember ordering our entirely-too-big dining room table with the bench seating for the four children I just knew we would have, plus room for their friends. But by now, we've gotten a hang of this adult thing, for the most part. We will never have four children and with that mourning comes the acceptance, the feeling of wholeness (or as close to it as possible) of knowing that the dynamic duo I have ransacking my clean floors have completed us in a different way than originally planned -- but completed us nonetheless. Next, I will say goodbye to the entirely-too-big table with the entirely-too-much bench seating and as I watch things make their way to new homes, new hopeful families, new destinations, I am finding solace in my own.
We have the house. We have the family. And now it's simply time to make it a home.