We're packing again.
At the end of May, just a day before our big trip back east, I woke up to a text from our property manager saying she was sorry, but the owners of our house wanted it back at the end of our lease. I sat in bed and cried, not because I love the house but because I am so incredibly tired of moving. And because finding housing in the Bay Area feels impossible sometimes, and I've never had to do it with a 7-month-old baby before.
But I also cried a little because I love the house.
Our property manager is comically bad at her job. I laugh about it because I don't think it's good for my blood pressure to do anything else. She ignores texts, refuses to get broken things repaired (once she told me to "YouTube it" when our garbage disposal stopped working), and regularly leaves the country without telling us how to reach her. The base of our front gate is held in place with good vibes and bricks I carefully spaced out along the edge.
And yet, this is the house we brought Sophie home to that Thanksgiving afternoon. Where I labored for hours days before. Where we spent countless early mornings and late nights on the couch feeding her all winter. Where she refused to sleep. Where she slept through the night for the first time. The first place she ever crawled. We crammed a lot of memories into this place.
I was packing up the books in the nursery the other day and had to take a moment to sit in that rocking chair where I would hold her in one arm as she nursed, my other hand holding my phone and watching The Big Family Cooking Showdown at 2:00 or 3:00 or 4:00 AM. At the time it was all I could do to not nod off, but now that the newborn haze has lifted and I actually sleep 6-8 hours every night I look back and think man, that was a beautiful time.
Our new house is bigger and brighter and only 5 minutes away. It has air conditioning and the people who own it live in another house and have no intentions of moving back or selling it. They want us there for as long as we want to be there, and it's probably the first house Sophie will even remember. The first place she'll walk. The first place she'll sleep in her own room.
There are still plenty of firsts.
It's so crazy to me that in September we will have lived in California for as long as we lived in North Carolina. Charlotte felt like home, we miss it, and we always count down the months until we get to visit again. But the Bay Area actually is home. Minneapolis sometimes feels like a distant memory and I wonder when Charlotte might feel the same.
My mom came to visit us last week and while I pumped and Sophie napped she boxed up our kitchen and garage. This is her third time staying with us in this house and it was bizarre to think that the next time she'll be back Sophie might be walking, and that we'll definitely be in a new home. We have a few things we always do when she's here, and after I dropped her off at SFO on Wednesday morning I added a new memory to the bank: of cruising down the San Mateo bridge by myself after dropping a loved one off at the airport, latte in hand, Lana Del Rey blasting through the stereo, the morning air still chilly. It breaks my heart a little every time but somehow I still love it--the same way I think about driving back from the airport to our apartment in snowy Minneapolis every time my brother or mom would come visit. It's just part of the deal.
I could go on and on about the weather here because I'm still not used to it--the disorienting coolness of every morning and evening, making you stop in your tracks and have to actively remind yourself what time of year it is, because it might be June but every night the crisp breeze feels like fall is on the horizon and makes you want to go home and bake a pie. And no matter what house we're in, whether we're moving in or moving out or finally staying put, Rob is there and Sophie is babbling and Ender is curled up on the floor with a bone.
And I'm home.