We have been in North Carolina now for two years. About a year ago, we invited our new friends over for dinner on a Saturday night; it was the first time they had come to our home. I gave the requisite tour showing off all the work that we had done in the initial 12 months of our transition to make the little condo livable. I even boldly displayed the guest room with a bed covered in my good intentions and a pile of things that hadn’t quite found a place yet. I explained the disarray as a defense for unexpected guests.
During dinner, we got talking about The House meaning the place we sold in Connecticut to make our move to North Carolina. I detailed the manse for my guests; the square footage, the rooms, the patio, the porch, the balcony off the bedroom, the vegetable garden, the perennial gardens and fruit trees, the workshop, the laundry room, the storage area and the rec room. And my friends politely listened as I talked about The House as if it were a long lost love, which it was.
My husband and I worked together to make The House HOME. We poured gallons of sweat equity into it, not as an investment, but as our hearts’ repose certain that we would never leave it, ever. But practicality stepped in and we turned it over to a hardworking young woman who would reap the benefits of the trim little ranch. And then we headed south and bought our homely compact condo.
The condo, on paper, was the same size as The House. What it lacked was personality, a basement and a yard. Concessions that we made to downsize – meaning get rid of stuff – and to free us from the exterior responsibilities. As I waxed poetic about The House, I was feeling homesick. Not for the location but for the edifice.
Later, I realized my edifice complex had kept me from really committing to the condo. I had painted, cleaned and updated our new address, but I hadn’t thought about it as HOME. I suddenly felt that I was somehow disrespecting my Abode by not getting the rest of the pictures hung up and properly organizing the kitchen. And, of course, not having the guest room ready.
So I spent the next day feverishly rearranging the kitchen cabinets in the Abode and by the end of the week I had the guest room in order (it didn’t take more than a couple of hours.) But best of all, I finally recognized and appreciated what we have and why we chose it.
The House may be the one that got away, but the Abode is the one that will harbor us now and set us on a new adventure.