Last night was the last night of my parents' visit and with all we've been through the past 3 weeks Maic and I decided to go out to eat on our own and leave the babes with Gramma and Grampa. We went out for pizza at Roadhouse, a local pizza restaurant. We were both so tired and felt so weird being out alone that we probably looked like we were on the saddest date in history. I was drinking a margarita without makeup and without a wedding ring (lost it between swollen fingers and moving; it will turn up). Any unknowing passerby might have thought it looks like that relationship isn't going anywhere....
Afterwards we went over to the rental house to do some final cleaning before the carpet cleaners arrived this morning. Our stuff is all moved out, save a couple of things in the basement which we'll get this evening or tomorrow morning. We only lived there for a year, yet I sobbed while I washed Evelyn's fingerprints off the mirrors and windows. I've done the chore dozens of times before, but it was different this time. I felt such a huge rush of emotions standing in her empty room, thinking about the little part of her life that took place there. I choked up standing in our bedroom, remembering pillow-talk and arguments, thinking of all the decisions we've made together. I thought of moving here to Ripon, and how we thought we might try to buy that house because we loved it so much. I remembered the people who have visited and all those who have supported us and cheered us on in my first year of ministry, in Evelyn's second year of life, in anticipation of Amos.
Time is going so fast now. Evelyn's first year wasn't the whirlwind many new parents describe. I wasn't that mom who said, "I can't believe she's already X months old" every month. If I did say that, I didn't mean it. The year felt slow, because it was so full and uncertain and confusing. Now, there is some certainty in our lives. We know we're here, in Ripon. We know we love this place and we have good friends and we have a home that belongs to us. Life isn't so confusing (well, life is confusing because that's the nature of it, but what we're doing with our lives is not so confusing). This all feels right. And so I guess that this year, as opposed to the first, has flown by. When I see the pictures of Evelyn sitting on the floor in our rental house with her short, straight hair, still not quite certain how to get from one place to the next, I feel like she learned to walk and talk and reason overnight. I wonder if I've paid enough attention to her, if I've soaked up every moment with her, if I'll look back when she's grown and regret anything.
I guess being in that empty house made me think of all this. I'm certain postpartum hormones make the emotional deluge stronger. But moving is emotional no matter what. A house is never just a house; it's the place where life happens in the most intimate ways. As excited as I am for the future of this new house (our house), there's something about that place where we spent our first year in Ripon that is so hard to say goodbye to. I am hopeful that soon I'll love this house that much, and I know that if good times happened there, then surely they'll happen here.