Hello sweet girl and Happy 122 months! Tomorrow is a big day for us – the day we purchase our next family home. After more than a year of wandering, we are ready for roots. For nesting. For home.
Although if you had it your way, we’d be moving back into our old house on 44th street. It’s the only home you’d ever known until we left for our year abroad.
Over the last year there was always the possibility that we’d go back to that house. Although we had renters, we could move back at the end of the year. But your Daddy and I were ready for something different. There were many reasons for this, although YOU were one big reason. We wanted a different backdrop to your growing-up years. One with less traffic and more green spaces to explore.
The new house we’ve found – I think it will make a wonderful family home. It’s in a neighborhood with miles and miles of walking and biking trails. The deer and foxes are abundant, and you can see dolphins and manatees from the marina just over a mile from the house. There is a wild bird sanctuary down the street. We drove through on a recent Saturday and saw kids your age on bikes, fishing poles perched over their shoulders, on their way to cast lines into the stocked lagoons.
This. I want this for you.
But at the moment, you’re unconvinced. You like the new house just fine. The neighborhood seems fine. But your loyalty remains with our old house.
Once we’d officially decided to move, there were still a few things in the old house we needed to pack up. You begged to come with us, and spent that time wistfully walking room to room, proclaiming your love for everything. “But I love this bathroom, Mama,” you’d say, hugging the shower wall. “I really like these countertops in the kitchen…” you’d say, running your hand over the glossy surface. And so on.
It is my hope that once you’ve made some new, good memories in our next house, you’ll grow to adore it as well. And I’m glad you’ll fondly remember your first house. I will too, because it’s the home I lived in when our family became three, and that is a very special thing.
For your father and I, it feels like the last month has been consumed with all the details of purchasing a home. Everything has gone well, but the process is still stressful, and I’m glad we had several opportunities to get out of town and be with friends.
Labor Day weekend, we picked back up on a tradition we’d enjoyed the last several years – getting together with the Valleses and Doves on Tybee Island. Our first day on the island we spent mostly indoors, hunkered down while winds whipped around us and Tropical Storm Hermine rolled through. But you had best buddies for company and it was a stormy day well spent.
Then the following days were gorgeous, and perfect for sand and sea.
The next weekend we traveled over to Lake Harding with the Leonard crew and spent the days in superb isolation in the cove at their lake house. You kids took off in kayaks, did gymnastics on paddle boards, and you even went knee-boarding for the first time.
You got in some quality fishing time too, landing several brim and two good-sized catfish. It was a catch-and-release situation, but you really struggled watching your dad ready the catfish for release. Wary of the barbs, he had to step – very lightly – on the fish, applying just enough pressure to keep the fish in place while he removed the hook.
You were horrified at this, and as he worked to free it you were feverishly pouring cupfuls of water over the fish trying to keep it comfortable. When it finally flopped gratefully back into the water, you’d pick up your rod and announce that you were going to try to catch it again.
You even learned to bait your own hook – something I thought might turn you off of fishing forever. You certainly didn’t enjoy hooking the worm or cricket, but surprised me by doing it anyway. You loved the sport of fishing, and I think it’s one of many activities we’re going to enjoy in our new neighborhood.
Good night sweet bear and sleep well. Tomorrow night, if all goes well, you’ll be sleeping on an air mattress in the new house. We’re planning to “camp out” there all weekend and clean, paint, and generally get acquainted with the new place before our furniture arrives next week.
I can’t wait to settle in with you and your Daddy. My favorites, in a place of our own. At home.
I love you so much.