I loved those green shutters. I loved that front porch. I loved that house. I loved everything about that house, from the vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom, to the garden tub, to the fireplace, to the ginormous kitchen. I even loved the blue counter tops that I thought were soooooo ugly. I loved them because they were mine. I felt spoiled living there. The Greatest bought this house for me, for our family. He gave us a home.
This was the house I was going to live in forever. The house where two of my babies were conceived. When they came home from the hospital this was where they went. This was the only home they were ever going to know. The only home Pork Chop was going to remember. This was the home I was going to grow old with The Greatest in.
We were the first family to live in that home. I think houses grow personalities. I think they can take on the energy of the previous occupants (I know, sometimes I'm crazy, its part of my charm). I spent time pondering the legacy I wanted to leave the house with. I thought of the energy I wanted to fill the house with. I wanted the house to be happy. So I filled it with music. And the laughter of children. And fights, cause we're normal people, followed by hugs. And big loud holidays. And quiet evenings snuggled on the couch together. And all the good things I could think of. I tried to keep it neat and clean. I'd like to think it was a happy house.
We were unbearably happy there.
Until we weren't happy.
One day things got bad. Jobs were lost. Bills piled up. Unemployment ran out. The stack of bills got taller.
The house was sold.
As things spiraled worse, no home, bad jobs, no jobs again, my Mom had cancer, we talked of divorce, I fell into the habit of thinking of the time we spent living in that home as "The Happiest Time in Our Life." Those were the golden days. The days I wanted back.
In addition to giving me a house with green shutters and a front porch, when we lived in the cream colored house The Greatest gave me roses. I've mentioned before that The Greatest doesn't really buy me flowers. The occasions he has are truly blog worthy events. But in that home he planted rose bushes for me. He faithfully tended them, watering them, feeding them, doing mysterious gardener things to them. He would often bring me beautiful roses from his bushes. The most fragrant delicate blooms. I still remember the kind of roses they were, Peace Roses, creamy with pink on the edges. It was romantic and sweet and part of the beauty that was life in our cream colored house.
Leaving the house was hard on all of us. Leaving the roses was especially hard on The Greatest. I think he has in his mind the kind of man he wants to be, the kind of father and husband he wants to be. The rose bushes played a part in that somehow. He mourned the loss of the roses, the loss of the man he was trying to be.
Time marched on as time relentlessly does. The only constant is change, I suppose. We moved, and moved, and moved again. Jobs changed. There were deaths. And a birth. And as life cycled around we were happy again. We fell into a comfortable place. I was content with our lot in life. I rarely allowed myself to dream a bigger dream of having a place all our own to call home.
And then we bought a new house. A home. I traded shutters for stucco. A fireplace for a pool. No front porch, but I still have a ginormous kitchen. And I love every inch of it, even the hideous green carpet I hate so much, because this is ours.
This is the home we're going to live in for as long as we can. We'd like to grow old together here, but I suppose being older and a bit more cynical we're not planning that far ahead. We'll just take as much as we can get. For now, for this moment, this is home. And that is enough. I think the house felt sad when it was standing empty and alone. I'd like to think the house is happy now, filled with the constant chaos of four children, a cat, and an incontinent dog. This is our life, and it is a good one.
But The Greatest still felt a hole where something was missing. It wasn't completely home to him yet.
I'm going somewhere with all this. I really am. This was all just a long way of saying I'm loving my roses.
The bushes on the ends are deep red.
The bush in the middle is cream.
I guess we're officially home now.