I hosted a small baby shower for my friend last Saturday afternoon. According to Pinterest, it was technically a “sprinkle” since this will be her second baby. The week leading up to it, I’d divided up cleaning jobs for each evening after work. One night I cleaned out the front foyer closet, put away the bulky winter coats and the overflowing baskets of mittens and hats. Another night I tidied and scrubbed shiny the fridge while Shaune steam cleaned the carpets. A third night I tried to catch up on loads and loads of laundry that never seemed to end.
And all the while I noticed the little imperfections of this house. I noticed the old worn builder-grade wood doors and trim, the archways that were in dire want of paint, the tired tatty carpets. I was acutely aware of the small living space, bins crammed full of toys on one wall, the couches frayed and smudged from small fingers using them as napkins, the cushions covered in patterned blankets, my attempt to save at least a part of them.
I cringed that we didn’t have central air, prayed that the weather would be unseasonably cool that day, not forcing us to install the eyesore of a window unit.
For the hundredth time since we moved here, I wished we’d been more patient in our choosing of this house. Up until then, Shaune and I had always rented, gone from apartment to apartment, renovated spaces in old houses, sometimes with balconies or with a bit of a deck when we were luckier.
We knew we were ready to break free from the shackles of landlord living, but we didn’t do our homework. We were in a rush to escape, have no one to answer to. We were thrilled with anything we saw because all we could think of was how we wouldn’t be sharing it with a crack-dealing neighbour, or be constantly intruded upon by a drunken lunatic landlord who had a penchant for setting off fireworks mid-afternoon for no apparent reason except that he enjoyed the loud bang which never failed to upset our aging blind diabetic dog for hours afterward.
But just as easily I reprimanded myself for feeling so ungrateful.
After all this is the place that welcomed my babies home from the hospital, the one I’ve been watching them grow from tiny cherubic infants to chattering wild sun-kissed boys. This house has allowed me to stay unruffled when they’ve used my couches to wipe their sticky fingers, practice their writing skills on walls I knew could be covered later with a coat of paint.
This house has crept into the deepest places of my being. It has helped shape me into a mother and wife.
This is the house I married my best friend in, transforming its tiny backyard into both church and reception hall. This house with its plain features, and non-descript floor plan. I’ve developed my writing here, dreamt of a day when the boys were older and I could eke out regular time to write uninterrupted.
This house has been my first real home.
I can’t remember how long we stayed in each place in Bangladesh but I know that since arriving here in Canada when I was seven, I’ve never lived in one home longer than a few years. It’s the place Deaglan refers to when we are on a trip and he yearns to go home. The place he understands to hold comfort and all of his treasured things. It’s the place where he had Shaune and me all to himself and also where he learned to be someone’s big brother.
It’s the place I will miss when we move one day.
This is Deaglan four years ago in a backpack helping Daddy water the flowers.
Here he is yesterday doing the same.
Naveen snuggled on my chest just minutes after he was born.
Yesterday enjoying the kiddie pool and sunshine.