This month’s theme for the photography group that I’m in is “green”.
We’re in the middle of a move at the moment, so capturing anything the color green is the furthest from my mind. I’m too busy throwing things in boxes, wondering if we’ll have enough and hoping that I don’t forget to do the change of address forms. But every few minutes I stop to concentrate on how the light streams in from the sunroom windows, highlighting the wisps of my baby’s hair as he builds his towers. You see, I’m trying to soak in every last bit of this house and our neighborhood. As I tucked the kids a few nights ago, they asked if it would be the last night in this bed, in this house. I explained that yes, it would. The beds would be disassembled tomorrow and you’ll have one last night in your room, but sleep on the floor. They nodded their heads and snuggled down deeper into the covers. I think they understand. They’re trying to soak up the memories and feelings here as well.
The truth of the matter is that we’re moving into the “dream”.
For years, we’ve wanted to move to the country – but we’ve never found anything afforable that met all of the criteria. Wanting a good school district was a given, but I wanted a two story white farmhouse with a porch. At one point, there was a beautiful tan farmhouse that my husband found online – but he was apologetic that the barn wasn’t a barn at all. It was a shed, and it was brown. I preferred red. It was silly and obnoxious, but we couldn’t afford any of these places anyway, so it didn’t hurt to be specific in the dream.
A few years ago we were part of a CSA. One of our cars was in for repairs, so the kids and I were going to pick my husband up from work. I called him and explained that I’d pick up the CSA box (he usually did), and then we’d be over to get him. He was insistent that I pick him up first, and we drive over together. I was insulted, assuming that he was making judgement of my direction-following, but agreed to pick him up first. As we pulled into the CSA site with the kids chattering in the back, I took note of the white farmhouse with the porch swing, the red barn, the overflowing gardens, the sunlight shining through the trees onto the sunflowers at the trellis, and the chickens wandering about the yard. And I began to cry. Very softly, my husband says, “this is why you couldn’t come here alone”.
You see, that theme of green mentioned earlier? Green makes me think of envy…. and it has been an issue.
I didn’t want a custom built home, I don’t care about the car I drive, or the labels on my clothes – I wanted space. I wanted space for my children to run and play and explore. I wanted Little House on the Prairie land with an Anne of Green Gables house, and I was envious of those who had it. But really, we’ve made a wonderful life here. I love that my kids had sidewalks to fill with chalk drawings, and friends across the street to play with in the snow. The post office that shares our property line? Sure – there was litter and big noisy trucks that would wake my babies, but the empty parking lot on a Sunday afternoon was the perfect place to teach our children how to ride a two-wheeler.
A phone conversation with my sister last summer and one breezy comment made me suddenly realize that the dream we’ve had was based on a place we’ve already been. The standard by which all other places were measured, our specifications of the two-story white farmhouse with a wraparound porch, the red barn, and five or more acres was really based on one place: my childhood home.
I tearfully went to my husband with this idea of buying the small farm, and his response of “this is the first you ever thought of it?” blew me away. We decided that we’d try to make a go of it, realizing that it might take six months or two years. And here we sit, eight months later – my husband secure in his new job, my mother in her new smaller home in town, and the moving truck for us will arrive in just a few hours.
I know that just a few months from now, we’ll be living the dream. The children will be playing in the forest of lilacs, the baby will be toddling in and out of the garden rows, and my husband and I will be sitting on our front porch holding hands. But right now? I’m very sad. I’m sad to leave this house where we brought home our babies, and our library and church, and our circle of dear friends. I feel a bit like Dorothy, saying goodbye to her new friends in Oz.
But as it turns out, she’s right. There’s no place like home.
Please visit photographer Erin Nisi and see how she interpreted this month’s theme of green!