So much has happened the past year to really challenge me and despite being really hurt at times and scared I am grateful for the lessons.
The keys to Birch Hill were passed on to a new family yesterday morning and the night before I had a really hard night at the house. Those of you who have been with Snicks a while saw the build process and house develop as we made it home. You gave me so much wonderful feedback and support. I even had started writing a book called Building Birch Hill which was a dry humour story based on the process and life then. As I said goodbye to the house it was empty and like new and memories of the build process and visiting and creating the space were swirling around. As well as the excitement when we all first finally piled in to call it home after driving from Whistler. I spent time in each room touching the little nicks and remembering the toy that went flying or creation that was proudly pinned up by little fingers. I took the boys heights they wrote on the basement storage room wall and transferred them to a board to keep those records for years to come. My ex stayed in the house when things fell apart and his new partner and her kids joined him there so things had changed for me but still it was ours and where we had invested so many hours and dreams and it meant a lot to me. Not the material part of it as much as I have missed my perfect kitchen and baking pantry but more just the space and the forest and creek. The memories of the hikes and laughing and gatherings over the years and just watching my boys grow. I am a homebody and it was my safe place...wandering in my nightie watering the plants under the stars or sitting on the deck in the morning hearing nothing but the creek and birds and my wee man clan. Watching the sunset off the front porch while the boys played in the grass and created their endless bird cities and such. Winter snowshoes and igloos and armies of snowmen. Going down the hill to the creek and just sitting in the moss with my feet in the water to think or spending days down there in the heat of summer with a pack of kids who made forts out of fallen trees and bridges across the water. Gathering with my art students and boys in my studio and watching them pour into projects and be together quietly and laugh and chat...being able to witness that was a gift. It was a beautiful spot and I am so grateful to have had those years there with the boys to let them play like kids should. Two years of pent up emotions definitely spilled out of me and it is confusing and scary to me not knowing what lies ahead.
I am excited though that when I went to buy my new little place our builder Ray, who did the most amazing job with Birch Hill was my building inspector. We had a great relationship with the build and I had great trust in him and confidence in his work. The house is so well built, seeing it empty it isn't showing it's age at all inside or out because of the trades who were awesome at what they did and their experience. Ray came out of the front door of the little house I was buying and just gave me his big smile and a hug and knew I was terrified and had no words for how my situation had changed...he didn't ask anything and just said: "I am sorry, you can do this again." He then spent four hours going over everything so I would be prepared as a reno is a completely different endeavour than a build. I know I can do it, he knows I can do it and luckily he passed on some trades I worked with last time who I deeply trust. Especially the fella who did so much of the hardie plank and finishing stuff at Birch Hill Billy who will be my main reno co-pilot. This makes me excited as well as finding so many great friends who live within blocks and hearing them say how nice the neighbourhood is. One door must close so another can open and I promise to step up to the renovation challenge and create a new nest to call home.
Yesterday I turned 44 and it was a really lovely day. I took my boys to lunch then a friend dropped off a book and I tucked in with it and Little Bear on the couch. It was a book I have had dear friends tell me to read several times over the past couple of years but I hadn't made the commitment yet, likely I wasn't ready to truly hear the message. Having Aj drop it off was a clear sign to me it was time to hear what Pema Chodron had to say in When Things Fall Apart. Like all her writing I was immediately intrigued and moved by the words. Looking forward to finishing it this weekend.
This morning I saw this quote on my Pinterest feed that led to this writing tangent but needed to be shared. It will be one I hold close as I stay open and aware of what is to come and move forward. Life is to short to be scared and judged and feel controlled, I am making 44 be the age I let go of all that nonsense and just be about my boys and what we need.
Stay tuned, it won't be long before I get the keys to my new abode and can share the process. Hearing your feedback and stories and seeing images of your homes always inspires me. So sooo sooo grateful to have you friends,