This Old New House.

I woke up around nine on Thanksgiving morning and, but for the clink clink clink of the fan and my dog licking her butt, the house was painfully silent.

Nothing was as it should be.

I made myself a cup of coffee, grabbed my camera, and headed outside … where I sat undisturbed for at least an hour.

Nothing was as it should be.

There were no kids jumping too close to the edge of the bed, ignoring pleas of “get dressed right now! I don’t know where your shoes are! Well, where did you take them off? Look for them.” I had no one to dress other than myself, no butts or noses to wipe, and no stomachs to feed.

After an uninterrupted soak in the bath I got dressed in silence, then sat on the edge of the bed and slipped my boots on.

Ready!

I looked at the time and realized I still a good hour to kill before thanksgiving lunch.

Nothing was as it should be.

– – –

When the boys are here, I daydream of silence amidst the chaos and quietly count down the days until they’re with their dad. But, once they’re gone the silence is deafening and not in a good way. I turn on the television to feel less alone and pay no attention to it. I smile in an effort to convince myself that I’ve got this. Some days I’m more convincing than others, but either way I’m constantly having to pull my heart out of my throat to put it back where it belongs.

There are a million things that need my attention. I have an embarrassing amount of grand ideas and unfinished projects. My house, mimicking my brain, is at times disorganized and overwhelming. “I’ll tackle everything when the boys are gone” I tell myself. But, come game time, the only thing I tackle are my car keys because I can’t seem to get out of the house (and my mind) fast enough.

No matter how much I embrace my new life, this house can be haunting when it’s empty. When I’m here alone the screams of mom guilt and am I doing this right replace those of rambunctious little boys. Do they notice how disorganized their closets are? Or that it takes me way too long to find the matching sock?

At their dad’s, they sit around the trendy dining room table in his new house and eat a proper dinner every night. Their Legos, neatly organized, sit in the common area directly outside of their catalog-worthy bedroom. Meanwhile, here at my house, the millions of clothes that have accumulated since they were born are shoved into drawers that sometimes stick, and the dining room table is covered with the bills and paperwork of a little girl playing single mom.

I love my home and fought hard to keep it. But, even still, there’s a small part of me that resents my ex-husband’s fresh start, because it’s so much fresher than mine.

His house is a clean slate that’s not filled with a decade of cluttered memories lurking around every corner. Like, my kitchen, where we once cooked complicated and fancy dinners. Or, the spot in the dining room, where we sat down a carseat holding a two day old Luca so our dogs could sniff him out. And, the bedroom of course, where we once held then later ignored each other.

I’m doing my best to make this house my own. It’s one of my many unfinished projects. Little by little, the silence is becoming more normal and not as scary. And, I know it will take more than ten months to wipe away ten years, but I’m all too anxious for this house to be mine and my alone.

Although, there are days I think my time might be better spent wiping away the bad memories and leaving the good ones alone. I mean, that would after all be one less project to tackle.

7 thoughts on “This Old New House.

  1. Yup. Boy do I get this. Although a little further along than you so the house does feel like mine, finally. I get stuck on, at dads house there are two adults. One to make dinner, one to help with homework, they don’t have to drag the other kids to take one to practice. I’m waiting for the days where I feel like I have everything under control out number the days where I’m frantically checking calanders and schedules, and reaching for take out menus. But maybe that more just me and not a product of divorce? The lines are blurred now.

  2. Things here were full of noise and love except for that empty blue chair, Duda’ s chair. I am trying to hang on to the good memories as you should. The new tree we planned to buy is purchased and in it’s corner. Shaping is almost done must retrieve the boxes of ornaments acquired over the years.

  3. This one hit home. I left our house even though I didn’t want a divorce, and I left so she and her kids didn’t have to move. That put me here, forced to create a home for me and my kids in a place I didn’t want to call home. Bit by bit you realize a new life.

    I’ve been slow in recovering, and I really want to write about it all, but somehow in a positive way. Reading your post helped me realize there may be a way. Thanks Allison.

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