[our first ever family visit to MSU]
Remember when we met? You seemed palatial. Coming from a 500 sq ft apartment in a sweltering southern city, you were paradise. We painted one of your walls blue for our little 1-year-old girl. The decorations went up. It was clean and organized. We had it good. Life was smooth.
Then remember that second positive pregnancy test? It was early, but still showed up positive instantly. That should have been a sign. Remember the sickness? When I couldn't even take care of my little girl? Remember how I threw up on your walls and behind your parking garage? Sorry about that. Then there was the day I came home and cried in your living room after seeing two babies on the ultrasound rather than one. I was so scared. I didn't know how we'd do it. But we brought those two beautiful babies home and they were crazy but they were perfect, just like their big sister. And here we are, two years later, and we did it.
#514, remember Chris's first semester? We didn't know what to expect. He did so great, and kept doing great. We celebrated the passing of tests, the end of semesters, the success of comps, the completion of the dissertation. Years that crawled by and simultaneously flew. He has a PhD! We moved to Lansing for that purpose, and now it is done.
Do you remember when Chris and I slept in your unfinished basement? Two babies were giving us a run for our money and impossible John needed his space to cry it out. So he got the small bedroom, the girls got the master, and we moved our bed to the basement. We had to unscrew the railing to get it down there. It was the first time you felt way too small. There were just way too many of us all the sudden. But we made it through that too. We moved all the kids in together and when Chris and I got a bedroom back, man, it felt so fancy. Windows and walls and a door! We were outgrowing you, but you continued to keep us safe.
Do you remember the birthday parties? Carly's friends in the kitchen eating at the little table. The twin's first party, with their cupcakes smeared on their faces? Do you remember the leprechaun treasure hunts, the Easter outfits, and the Halloween costumes? And that brick wall out in front. It was perfect for a photo op, so much so that the kids would run and line up when I requested a picture.
Because along with the hard was the good. There were first smiles, first giggles, first crawls, and first steps. There were daddy monster attacks, forts built, songs sung, and kisses and hugs and funny conversations. Life with these people is just so full of joy your walls couldn't contain it.
We loved to walk your trail, play in your park, and scribble on your sidewalks. You had the greatest maintenance men, or "fixer boys" as Carly lovingly called them. They were quick and kind and last week they told Chris just how much they'd miss our family and our smiling waving kids. You were close to our friends, to our church, to our favorite parks, to my beloved running trail, to our library, and, most importantly, to Dairy Dan's. I've been having chocolate turtle flurry withdrawals. I consumed way too many of them within your walls.
#514, we outgrew you, but you were our home. You held our sweet, scary, silly, and sacred moments. You kept us safe. You helped us grow. Look how much my babies grew while we called you home. Carly was a tiny thing when we moved in, and now she's tall and brilliant and amazing. John and Quinn are kids, walking way too quickly away from babyhood. You are the only home they know. They left their scribbles on your walls and their handprints on your brick. And I left a piece of my heart right there with you. Because even though you're only a little townhouse in South Lansing, you will always mean the world to me.
We said goodbye last week, and today Chris packed up our belongings in a big truck. Tonight you sit empty. I was reading back on my blog from when we announced we'd be moving to Michigan, and this is what I found:
Its weird to think ahead, to think of what our Michigan years will bring. Like how Carly will be nearly FIVE when we are done. How hopefully she will be a big sister. How Chris and I will both be old. How we will have a home we've lived in for years (we've never lived in the same place for over a year in our entire marriage). How Chris will be a doctor. It will be a fabulous 4 years.
Thank you, #514, for being our home while all those dreams came true.