Ours was not a love at first sight. On a bright winter’s day, I trudged through knee-deep snow to greet you. It wasn’t until late spring, however, that I agreed to see you again.
To begin with, you were compact, rather plain, and, to my then young but critical eyes, a bit homely — nothing at all like the ideal I had carried around in my head for so long. But after our second meeting, I let caution go and decided to give you a try. “It doesn’t have to be forever,” I thought to myself.
During our first year together, we faced some serious challenges. More than once you suffered from a lack of energy that caused your lower extremities to fill with water. And I spent more time with doctors and in hospitals than I ever could have imagined. And yet, you were stalwart — always there, patiently waiting for me to come home.
I have since learned to appreciate your modest looks and embrace your efficient and can-do approach to life. As the years passed, I helped you buff up your rough edges, gave you one or two makeovers, and then watched your quiet beauty emerge.
In return, you protected me through more physical and emotional storms than I can count. And you taught me everything I know about patience, persistence, and the value of building on what you have, rather than looking for something new.
You let me make mistakes and I learned important lessons from each one.
Moving in with you, however, was not a mistake. Like two dancers, we developed a feel for each other’s frame and learned how to move together with grace. After 23 years of cohabitation, we both wear the patina of age.
It is only now, as we prepare to part, dear house, that I realize how deeply I love you.
This post is part of a Valentine’s Day series on Women’s Voices for Change.
Kathleen Volp said:
Absolutely beautiful Judith and heart breaking for me as I too love your house – and you within it. All the loving restoration and recrafting Paul and you have done has made it unique, beautiful and invaluable. Your gardens sing with joy come each spring. To sit at your table drinking espresso and looking out over the lushness of land behind you was a serene blessing. I’m sure your next house will grow in sync with you too, but it may be far away from me. And for that I mourn your departure twice.
Leslie in Oregon said:
Such a lovely tribute to your house. I understand how you feel, as it mirrors the evolution of my feelings for the house Scott and I have lived in for just over 30 years and must soon leave. Thank you for giving voice to both our sentiments and for the glorious last photograph. They help me progress toward being, i.e., feeling, able to leave. Greetings from all four of us to the three of you on Valentine’s Day, Leslie
D. A. Wolf said:
This is beautiful, Judith. And for those of us who love our homes so filled with memory and history, poignant.
Happy Valentines Day.
Optimistic Existentialist said:
I love the way in which this is written…makes me miss the house that I grew up in 🙂