Raymond and I have had a wrenching couple of days. We’ve been back at our home in Montreal, preparing to put it up for sale, meeting real-estate agents, etc.
Have you ever had to sell, or at least leave, a home in which you have been very happy? If you have, you’ll know what we have been feeling.
We knew it had to come. After all, we did very deliberately make the decision to move away from Montreal to a whole new life at the Manse in bucolic little Queensborough, Ont. And we love Queensborough. And we love our Manse, despite its many challenges. (Wasps and whatnot.)
But we were happy in our almost nine years at our cozy condo in a nice part of Montreal. There are a lot of wonderful memories there. And as we were reminded over these past couple of days, it was (and is) a very easy and comfortable place to live: all the appliances work beautifully (and there is a dishwasher!); it is warm and undrafty; the internet is faster than fast, unproblematic and way cheaper than here in Queensborough; and so on and so on. Let’s just say that it is a less challenging place to inhabit than is the drafty old 1888 in-need-of-renovations Manse.
And just before we left, after we’d got the place looking thoroughly tidy and spiffy in advance of open houses for prospective buyers, we really felt appreciative of what a very nice place it is.
There were tears in my eyes when I left today. Raymond hid it well, but he was pretty sad too. A glum start to the day indeed.
As we drove westward to Queensborough, I thought about how sad I had been for the very same reason on a summer day many years earlier. It was the day just before my 15th birthday when my family – my father the minister and my mother the saint and us four kids – moved away from the Manse. I remembered how it had felt on that long-ago day to walk through those empty, memory-filled rooms for what I thought was the last time ever. And it felt very close to the bone.
Thanks to the infinite patience and love and indulgence of Raymond, though, I am now back in that house that I left just before my 15th birthday. Will I ever get such a second chance with the sweet little condo in Montreal? Almost certainly not. And that continues to make me sad.
But when we arrived at the Manse late this afternoon, spring was in the air. We could hear birdsong, and melting snow dripping through the eavestroughs. And then there was a gentle and pretty sunset over the village; I looked out the window, and the rays of the setting sun were making the historic white-frame Anglican church look (as it often does) like something out of a painting. (Or a greeting card.)
And as the sun set, my spirits rose. Raymond’s seemed to as well. The cat was happy we were home. So was the Manse.
And so were we.