An Open Letter to the Family Moving into our Home:
As I sit here typing these words, I'm perched, feet up, in one of my favorite spots in this house, looking out the big windows in the living room to the little world that's been mine for the last seven years. I just watched the mail truck putter past on its daily route, the familiar cadence of the accelerating motor, the tapping brakes, and the click of each mailbox opening and closing like an old song to me now.
I sit here in the quiet and realize that there are things that I want to tell you.
I want to tell you that the two dogwoods that flank the front walkway will bloom in the end of April, and when they reach up over the dirty cement below like a bride on her wedding day, the house will look completely different. You'll be able to see them, resplendent with white blooms, every time you walk past the living room and the blue bedroom upstairs. Notice them. Appreciate them. You only get about ten days each year with them, and I don't want you to miss it.
I want to tell you that the sidewalk out front has some character. Be careful as you teach your children to ride their bikes, but don't be too cautious - learning to pedal over those bumps will make them brave, and soon you'll be letting them glide all the way to the holly bush four houses down.
I want to tell you that the back deck is like a tree house in July and August. Put your babies down for naps and do nothing but sit out there and listen to the breeze for an hour every afternoon. Bring a book if you'd like, but it will sit unopened in your lap. The singing birds, leaping squirrels, and clicking woodpeckers will lull you into the sweetest of trances. I learned to be still on that back deck.
I want to tell you that the best place to spy on your little ones is at the kitchen windows by the sink. Sound from the back yard carries surprisingly well up to those four narrow windows, and you can hear their little conversations word for word. It was there that I discovered that my daughter has a deep empathy for others as I listened to her console a sad friend on the trampoline. It was there that I learned that one of my sons was having trouble telling the truth. It was there that I began to see that the grueling work of homeschooling four children might just be worth it as I listened to them laugh and play and explore together the way I've always hoped they would.
I want to tell you that there's a little fort in the woods that my twins discovered when they went on a "hike" in our backyard. It's littered with rusty beer cans and cigarette butts from the naughty teenagers who built it. Shuffle your curious little guy right along, but go back later with your husband and check it out. You'll laugh at all the junk they've got in there. It will make you feel young again.
I want to tell you that the grins on your children's faces will be worth every moment of humiliation if you choose, as I did, to lead the annual neighborhood Halloween parade around the island.
I want to tell you that the best place to take back-to-school pictures is in front of the big oak tree in the middle of the yard. The ring of hostas that I planted there when I was six months pregnant with the twins are a defiantly bright green in the end of August, a beautiful backdrop for smiling children and colorful knapsacks.
I want to tell you that your quest for "no bath" nights will be futile from May through September. There are voyages of delightful discovery around every corner of the yard, and they come at the cost of dirt-covered fingers and toes.
I want to tell you that we loved this home. God was good to us here. We proudly brought three of our four babies through the red front door and carried them up to their nursery. We watched our oldest learn to ride her bike out front, and our three youngest learn to walk in the kitchen. We taught ourselves to miter trim and lay ceramic tile and change out toilets in this home, because we couldn't afford to pay someone to do it for us, and we wanted everything to be lovely.
I want to tell you that there's a part of me that longs to sit here a while longer, to mourn for all that won't be for our family within these walls. As God would have it, I don't have time. My six year old wants to show me his new soccer trick, and my toddler's little voice is beckoning from the monitor. It's time for me to go and keep living my life, and time for you to arrive, and keep living yours.
I've heard you are a sweet, kind family, and that brings me great peace as the last box is packed and the lights are turned off on our time here.
I pray that your years here, however long they may be, will be filled with laughter and joy.
Ours surely were.
"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."