Little Old Neighborhood

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She was a baby here, in the grass and the sidewalks she first walked upon. Crawled upon. Clung to my chest from her carrier, feet dangling, socks peeling and falling without my knowledge, blown by wind down side streets, lost from see.

Now she chases birds down crooked sidewalks, points to strollers with pacified faces, falls on her knees and stands again.

"Baby," she says. "Baby!"
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Over a sea of boxes, Hal and I wonder whether the children will remember this house. We print our names on the sides with black marker, agreeing that Archer will (likely) remember it here. The bedroom with the candle-like "flickerlies," the bathroom with two entrances, the "secret passageway" in the neighbor's palm-frond filled side-yard, the stoop we set the water table up on in the summer and how the faucet leaked.
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We agree that Fable will not. She won't remember the kitchen and where she hid her measuring spoons. She won't remember which yard the next street over harvested the most weeds for her to pick, the most rocks for her to collect and try to carry - frustrated with her own small hands.

She won't remember her red dress and how she walked all the way home from the Farmer's Market wearing it, following the textured spots like isolated paths.
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How much I'm looking forward to new walks on less familiar streets - our exploration of new yards and rocks and trees - making friends with new babies, neighbors, forging secret passageways in our own backyard. Finding new street signs to shake with all our might.

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And yet, no matter how much we can't wait to leave, there's a part of me pushing down on time with the weight of me. Toes trying mightily to clutch at our foundation through the heaviness of re-soled shoes.

We were a family here first. When our children were babies. When Hal and I were strangers. When these streets of ours were new.
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How quickly we outgrow our bedrooms. Seek new shells. Need haircuts so we can look upon new and unobstructed views.

She may not remember this house. These blocks we walked on daily. The tufts of grass in strangers' yards we trespassed through, picking dandelions and inhaling them on accident before holding hands and walking all together home.

Which is why I take a thousand photographs. Write a thousand posts, all stories that have taken place in her first neighborhood, our memories like stamps in the baby book. And beyond them: the trace amounts of pavement these old streets have left upon her sandals*.


*The invisible kind, impossible to outgrow.

GGC

37 comments:

The818 | 12:09 AM

So lovely. It's kind of sad though, isn't it? That they won't remember these times we will treasure forever?

Kim Hosey | 1:10 AM

I still miss our apartment from time to time, with the tiny living room and the mooching upstairs neighbors and late-night swimming at the pool just feet from out door.

But I LOVE our house. You will build SO many memories.

And I love how joyous Fable is in all of these photos. I'm cranky and tired tonight and I'm smiling anyway.

elise | 5:25 AM

my husband and i just did it. our children are 2 and 3 months. it wasn't hard to leave the place, just hard to leave the memories.

read our thoughts on it here if you would like:

http://eliseandpaul.blogspot.com/2010/04/composure-under-fire.html

i wish you the best as you move up and on!

if you would be interested.

Adriana | 5:43 AM

im going through the same thing. we are in the process of moving and it makes me sad to leave the house behind even though im ready for the move. the bathtub where i lounged with my pregnant belly sticking out of the water, the dinning room where i ate with him snoozing quietly in m arms, ill miss it all. its tough to leave the past behind.

Melinda | 5:46 AM

The great and wonderful thing about blogs and photographs, is that those memories are never further away than a click of the mouse. Fable and Archer may loose the memories but they will always have your blog and photos to remind them of their very happy first home and why it was time to move on to new adventures.

leel | 5:52 AM

I can fee the angst; does it help knowing that I moved at 2 and 6 and rememeber things about both those places?
From the first I have a few memories of times outside, on the street with my own mom. From the 2nd I remember our phone number was 454-2579 and the little ladder on the fence by the apple trees in my yard. I still rememeber everything, actually. When my husband and i made the 10 hour drive back there on our honeymoon, we drove straight to my old address, without getting lost. I think they will remember so much more than you fear. I think you all will. Plus, um, check out your amazing blog!?! They won't be able to forget even if they want to.

Go rebecca! I am so excited for the new house for you, but I get the End of an Era thing too. So, virtual hugs to you my virtual friend :)

Michelle | 6:07 AM

Someone once told me that most memories are created my the stories we are told. Fables memories will come from the fairytales you tell her at bedtime. A story of a little girl who picked dadilions and wiggled street signs. A fairytale of two people who did it backwards, met, made a baby and then fell madly and deeply in love! I believe she will have more memories then most because her mother is a storyteller and a blogger of her life.

The Panic Room | 6:08 AM

I'm still fascinated with the house I grew up in from infant to 2. I don't remember it at all, just stories from pictures, my mothers garden, the sand box, the orange tree out front. I remember it from my box of pictures, it is where I was a baby.

Every time I drive down south to my hometown, I am sure to drive by this old house and just give it a look. It always feels familiar.

You have given your kids a great gift keeping such an awesome record of this house and this time in their lives. It will be one of the billion reasons they love you and Hal.

Midway | 6:29 AM

Love this post. You write almost prose poetry -- it's lovely. I started reading right after you had Fable, and now she's a little girl! Good luck with the move and making new memories in your new place.

Amanda

Amy | 6:29 AM

I absolutely love your daughter's hair clip! Where is it from?

Andi | 6:54 AM

Our apartment is falling down around us but I just can't bear to leave the memories of where we became a family.

So I renew the lease, and we live with a leaky bathroom and a kitchen faucet that sometimes works... I want to leave but I want harder to stay and remember.

Chantry | 7:01 AM

Beautifully written...I love your work. Congrats on the new house, and here's a toast to new beginnings!

Constellation | 7:03 AM

Boy, do I feel this post. My husband and I made the jump to a house last year, and we bought a house with more bedrooms than he and I need for a very good reason: we intend to bring children into this house. We reminisce about our apartment-the first home we ever shared. I remember the last time I closed the door to the apartment after we checked out-I cried my eyes out the whole way to the new house. It makes me shudder a bit, to think about if we ever leave this house-when there are so many more memories kept in these walls. I think the grief is a sign that the last chapter of your life was well-written. I hope that every change will break your heart in this way-because it is a sign that you lived that last part down to the marrow. Good luck.

Taking The Journey | 7:08 AM

Beautiful; thanks for sharing. I can understand the mixed emotions that come with moving your family, your life, your memories. Good luck.

Anonymous | 8:42 AM

In that red dress Fable looks like she stepped out of The Handmaiden's Tale.

Emily | 9:27 AM

So beautiful! The post, the photos, the everything.

Stesha | 9:55 AM

Your ability to tell a story sends goosebumps down my skin. It's funny how we have to be their memory bank. The keeper of what came before, during, and sometimes after them. It's beautiful and sad all at once.

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

Marcela Beatty | 11:06 AM

She will forget, but you won't. She will ask you many times, "tell me about when I was a baby", "where did we live?", just like my son. You will tell her, and she will love those stories from you and your blog ( :

Alyson | 11:19 AM

That was so lovely. Happy and sad at the same time as well.
Can I just say though how jealous I am that you live close enough to walk to Farmer's Market!

ADVaughn | 11:50 AM

Thanks a lot! We just moved from our 1st home that started with my husband and I and ended with 2 kids, a dog and a cat into our big, beautiful forever home. I was so happy to finally shed what felt like an old, too small sweater and stretch our arms and legs. Now you have me feeling sad about leaving our 1st home and will they remember? *tear*

laboriousliving | 1:04 PM

My dad always told me happiness was good health and a bad memory. I'd have to disagree....

mommica | 3:22 PM

I feel ya. After months and months of trying to sell our condo and find a new place, I walked out the front door of our old place for the last time with the heaviest feeling in my chest. That's where my baby was a baby!

Ray | 3:59 PM

The documentation of life is so important. Which is why I'm so glad that you have this blog for Archer & Fable. That and you're a MAGNIFICENT writer! You truly have a special gift. Fable will never forget her past, as long as you continue on writing, to help her remember it. <3 <3 <3

Hold onto these last days. Enjoy them. Hold onto the memories. And here's to a great move, without anything stressful occuring.

The Beckster | 4:12 PM

Midway really said it.

Certain posts of yours read like poetry, and each line carries so much weight & meaning. I love getting lost in those posts. It makes my day! It will be really incredible for your children to read these when they are older, it's such a tribute to their childhood - especially the parts they won't remember, like now for Fable. Good luck with your move!

Mo | 5:17 PM

the places that will never be again, outside of our own minds...simply because we are what those places are made of....

I'm glad you are going somewhere that you are in love with. Otherwise this would break my heart.

Marisa | 6:01 PM

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fable is breathtakingly beautiful (Archer, too).

Enjoy.

Mar | 6:15 PM

Your writing is really lovely...it inspires me to write. Thank you

Meg | 6:46 PM

Beautiful words.

Moving is bittersweet and always makes me nostalgic. I'm so ready to move, but now that we're considering it I'm panicking. This is the house we demolished and rebuilt all on our own. It's where....(and so on).

Congrats on your move! You will have a great time making memories in your new home.

Anonymous | 7:23 PM

love it. What kind of camera do you use to take such magnificent photos?

mommymae | 10:15 PM

you'll create new memories to weave into those you already have in the patchwork of your lives. it'll be a grand quilt to envelope you all.

Chicago Mom (Heather) | 12:11 PM

Damn it!! You made me cry at work. Again. I love this post more than you will ever now.

My husband and I, our dog and 2 small children have outgrown our 2 bedroom condo.

We need to sell it and move but the market is crap so we're waiting.

I'm impatient and want to move into a house with a yard but reading this post reminds me to slow down. Enjoy this time of littleness both in size of children and size of home.

What special memories we have created here. sigh

Olivia Singleton | 12:27 PM

I'm sure this is the least of your worries with the upcoming move and all, but I just wanted to let you know I posted a passage of one of your previous posts to my blog. I gave you full credit with a link back to your website. I don't feel it's proper to post some of your work to my blog without receiving your permission first. If this bothers you, please just let me know and I'll take it down without a second thought.

kendra | 11:33 PM

so cute. utterly adored the last three pictures.

kittenpie | 6:15 AM

Oh, you do wistful so well, Bec.We moved when Pumpkinpie was only 3 months, so I know she would remember nothing, but our first house was a charmer, and we still point it out to her when we have occasion to drive by, trying to make it a tiny bit of our history and hers.

My Bottle's Up! | 10:30 AM

she is just irresistible.

Junket | 1:05 PM

This is so touching. I hope that if I ever become a parent, I will capture moments of time in my child's life the same way you do for Archer and Fable.

xo
Junket

Kylie | 8:47 PM

Hugs - there will be something that she remembers from there in years to come. Children surprise you - we have moved 4 times since our first posting where Amelia was born and we moved when she was 15 months old - there are things that she remembers but the most touching was this week at Kinder whe Amelia and a little girl where sitting holding hands. Her mother and I spoke and we worked out that we had both lived and attended the same plygroup (Amelia was 16 months through to 2) Somehow the girls had struck up there own little friendship at four - it is lovely.

Enjoy your new adventure and have fun finding all the new little spots.