“Boys, we are visiting our new home today for the very first time.”
“Not for you. It’s not the first time for you.”
“True. I’ve seen it … a few times now.” And I didn’t take you with me because I hoarded those glorious moments of discovery for myself. “Here’s what I want you to remember while we walk through the house. Two rules: 1. Stay with me. Be in the room I am in. I want to show you everything, because this is the house you will grow up in and that matters a lot to me.”
“We will grow up in this house?” I know you think you’re already grown up. But we do have a few years left.
“And 2. This is not our home yet. Another family lives there. So there will be no running, racing, sliding on the floors, or damaging anything.”
“Right, because it’s not our house yet.” Actually, that rule will remain consistent even after this day.
They were enthralled.
“Look at the yard!! Look at the yard!!”
“Look at the cat! She’s so friendly. He’s so friendly. Do you think it’s a he or a she?”
“This is my room? My room? Don’t change anything! I love this color!”
“Mommy, this is your shower? I’ll sneak in and not give you privacy.” No, because Home Depot and I are going to rememdy that situation of the transparent doors.
“The cat came into this room too! Look how he’s allowed up on the kitchen table.”
“Guys, just leave the cat alone. This is his – her – its house.”
“Look at this closet in the basement! It’s like the movie Annie. There’s shoeboxes everywhere and the light turns on with a string!”
“Don’t touch me. I touched the cat.”
“The cat doesn’t stay, gentlemen.”
“Mommy! This is your office! And sometimes you can put toys in here whenever we are allowed to come in here with you.” Sometimes, I suppose I could.
“Let’s put our rocking chairs on the front porch! No, the back porch! That’s where we’ll sit and talk, Mommy. Every Sunday. You and me. Just you and me. Not him. It will be like a date. Just us.”
“Here’s the pantry, boys. Look at these shelves that pull out. Where do you think we should put the cereal so you can help yourselves in the morning?” We each pointed to a different shelf. I’ll trump that one when the time comes.
“Look at this computer!”
“It doesn’t stay, guys. Only the permanent things will stay here for us. So if you can pick it up, don’t pick it up. Cause it’s not ours.”
“Where do you think the cat is?”
“Could we please stop perseverating on the cat?”
“Boys, this will be your bathroom. But I have to warn you: there’s a pair of little girls’ underwear on the floor.” (The owners let us come for 30 minutes today, but they very much still live there. And their little girls still use that bathroom. I play this up intentionally. Because what could be funnier? Plus, it’s better than the fixation on the freaking cat.) “But you will never do that, will you? You guys don’t ever leave underwear on the floor, do you?”
“Yes. Yes, we do. And we will.”
They chose their places at the dinner table. They helped me decide where the piano will go. And they raced down the stairs like they were in burlap sacks on a slide at a carnival. So, there’s that.
(I might have to give in on that. It’s just too great.)
I’ll always remember this day. When each boy graduates from high school and leaves for college, I will look back on this day: when he walked into his new home, eyes wide with contagious happiness.
And how he slid down the stairs in his jeans.
Settle down, it will all be clear.
Don’t pay no mind to the demons –
they fill you with fear.
The trouble, it might drag you down,
if you get lost you can always be found.
Just know you’re not alone,
‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home.
~ Phillip Phillips, Home