Catch and release


The realtor came by yesterday to show “our” house to prospective tenants. It’s not really ours, as evidenced by the hefty rental check we pay each month and the hideous fluorescent lighting in all the bathrooms. But in many ways, it feels like it belongs to us. Our memories shore up each one of its walls. These walls sink deep into the foundation of the basement floor, where I sweat it out each morning on the treadmill, and they hold up the terracotta roof with its leak we can’t seem to fix.

The rooms speak–here are the pencil scratches where we measured their height. There she buried her face in my hair and cried. This room is where I got the call that changed the shape of our family. That window frames a view that makes me want to weep for its beauty. Here is where they wrestled and fought. And fought. And fought. There sits the sofa where we made them hug it out. This is the closet she runs to when she wants to be alone, and downstairs–the corner she calls her hiding spot, also known as the dumping ground where toys go to die. That hole in the fence is where the dog escaped and chased our unsuspecting neighbor down the walking path. This kitchen, where I fill bellies and souls. There, we sit and sing Happy Birthday, while the sun shines through from the great glass door and the candles flicker on the cake.

We filled this little grey house with laughter and screaming and merry-making and tears until it could tell the story of us.

Last night, I searched for new homes online. When I recovered from the sticker shock (Seriously, NJ?), I tried to imagine us living in another house. We’ve moved often enough for me to know that given time, we can make any place a home. We will build walls shored up by memories wherever we go, and we’ll always find a place to hide or revel or escape, even if it’s only through a hole in the fence. A new place will speak of us, and we’ll learn all over again what it feels like to catch and release.


  • Kimberly

    Each move I have made has brought significant change… LI to upstate NY for college, then to Atlanta only to meet my husband who lived in NYC . After living the city life now we are in the suburbs, just a stone throw away from city life but worlds apart…
    I wish you the best In your next chapter. I love that No matter what we go through we can trust God to be our constant.

  • I would take pictures of every room of every wall to be able to capture those memories falling from those walls sometimes in the future.

  • Laurie

    This reminds of a funny incident with my family when we were preparing to leave our home in Saudi Arabia. I asked my young teen daughters to film our house and the surrounding neighborhood while I was getting things ready to move. The video was meant to be for us and for our replacements. Somehow my daughters missed that part of the directions. So imagine their horror and my surprise when we met up with the family replacing us and I offered to show them the video of the house! We were treated to shots of water swirling down toilets, silly jokes, goofy interviews with neighborhood kids, and weird camera angles. I’m not sure how helpful the video was to the family moving into our home, but it has become a treasure to our family. Hope your move goes well.