We are moving. Now the task lies before me to pack up this home, this house of dreams where I planned to spend the rest of my life, and sort, divide, donate and sell.  We are moving from a neighborhood with three car garages, landscape lighting, and security systems to a small rental in an older neighborhood. I am going from gleaming hardwood floors, French toille wallpaper and curving staircases to linoleum, outside parking and one bathroom. And I am choosing to do it.

I am choosing to take my kids and myself out of a situation that is beyond my control. I am choosing to wrench the bull by his horns and wrestle that sucker to the floor. Because of choices my ex-husband made, I cannot keep my home house. The struggle of coming to terms with that has been a bed of hard, sharp rocks. But ultimately, it is simply the truth. A single mom supporting three children by herself cannot take on the kind of debt a house like that brings. It must be sold.

The hard part is the dissolution of the dreams. The hopes and plans of a future that seemed so secure, so idyllic, so perfect, so much a fulfillment of everything I wanted- all that is gone. I miss the man I married. I miss my best friend. I miss him with a gasping chasm of perfect pain where my heart was- but he is gone, and I cannot bring him back. So like the house, I have to step back and distill the truth- the truth of the house is that I cannot keep it. The truth of my marriage is that I cannot fix it. Hiding from those truths would only hurt me more.

I took the kids to see what I am calling our “new small house”, and they were okay with it. They don’t notice things like linoleum floors and think sharing a bathroom will just make Saturday chores go faster. Cleaning four bathroom does take some time, and who needs two walk-in master closets anyway? Gleaming hardwood floors are hard to keep clean, and my Dyson needed some carpet. My cheeks sting, and I feel ashamed of my pride, and ashamed that I am not more grateful for the “new small house”.

My emotions are always close to the surface. More so now. I met with my attorney this week, and it’s like ripping open a sutured wound when the severing you have come to terms with intellectually is all laid out before you on paper. I thought I was ready. But the actuality of it- of seeing your life, your heart, your best friend, your children, your home- laid bare into legal terms on stark white paper… nothing can prepare you for it. I cried all day.

The futures I had imagined are gone. I need to grieve, and experience that loss, lest it raise it’s head in some unhealthy way later. So I’m letting myself cry. I’m allowing the waves of sadness to wash over me, and I’m hoping as they do, the salty brine of the sea will help heal the cracks in my spirit. It stings now, but maybe it’s all part of doing what’s good for me. I have faith the healing will come, and I have faith that the void and vacuum of my heart will gradually fill up with new good things.

My pride has taken a hit. But maybe that’s a good thing. I keep telling my kids that it doesn’t matter where we live, it’s our family that matters. I told them a house is like clothes- it may change but the family on the inside is what matters. A house is just a house.  Back in October, before I told the blog what was happening, I wrote the following:

No matter how much you love your home and think it’s where your heart is, it’s not. Your home is an empty shell, a vacant lot, without those you love lighting it’s walls. The old adage got it wrong.

Your home is in your heart- not the other way around.

Much like Alice, I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it. This time, I’m taking it to heart.

Painting by the exceptional Kathleen Lolley.

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