Ever since I was young, The Little House has been one of my favorite books. Even now when I read it, the illustrations are so familiar…as if that little house and its story belonged to my own family and our history. As it is in reality, though, my family has never moved. My parents still live in the same wonderful house where I was raised. Ben’s too. So it is not lost on us that in just a couple weeks, our children will be experiencing something we never did as kids.
While I know for sure Raegan will be too young to remember this move, I wonder about Harrison. We talk about the “new house” quite a bit these days and he knows where it is when we go on walks or drive through the neighborhood. He can even look at the pictures of the real estate listing and point to his future bedroom. But does he really understand what this all means?
Today, after his nap, Harrison went up to the little space heater in his room, touched it and told me, “My heater needs to go to the new house” (don’t worry, people, it’s kid-safe!). Then he put his hand on the lamp and said, “My light needs to go to the new house, too.” He looked at me with such big eyes as he made these statements and kind of nodded his head as he spoke, as if to reiterate the importance of his words. I nodded in agreement and told him that yes, all of his things would go to the new house. In one way this doesn’t surprise me because he’s obviously noticed all of the boxes around our house and he even “helped” pack some things from his closet yesterday morning. But how much can an almost two-and-a-half-year-old really understand about moving? I’m an almost thirty-year-old and the whole process is still a little bit lost on me!
Before today I hadn’t really considered that HD might be slightly concerned about the upcoming move. I still wouldn’t say that he’s really worried or scared, but now I can see that it will take some time, patience and explanation for him to understand fully that we live there and not here once we make the switch. This might be complicated by the fact that the old house will still (always) be just around the corner. I now have visions in my head of Harrison telling me that he wants to come back to this house when we walk by on future afternoon excursions; I can see him insisting that this is still “Harrison’s House” and that he should be able to go in it or in the yard. And why wouldn’t he? This is his little house; it has been 95% of his world for his entire life, so of course it may be difficult for him to let it go.
For me, saying “goodbye” to this house will be bittersweet. For all the little (and not-so-little) hiccups and projects, it has been a wonderful home to us for the last five and a half years. We bought it, though, as a starter home and that’s exactly what we did here. We started our life together as a couple. We started our careers as teachers. We started our family. And now we need more space. We need room to breath and play and grow. All of that will happen in the new house and I am grateful that it will provide us with those opportunities. But I have a feeling that I may have some toddler moments in the future when I take a stroll through the neighborhood and pass by this little tan bungalow…it may just be that I still think of it as “my” house and it just may be that I want to demand to see it again because it has played such an important role in my life. Funny, isn’t it? I never realized a little house could be so big.