We're moving. Today. Four strong men pulled up in an enormous truck this morning and right now I can hear them talking quietly and gasping as they haul sofas and tables down the hall.
We bought this house in 1991 just before Natalie was born. Nicholas' main floor bedroom and wheel-in shower made this an easy environment for our kids to be closely observed, but not crowded. Natalie came home for lunch every day with a chattering group of her classmates and they spread their sandwiches out on the big kitchen table. I eavesdropped on their gossip as I hovered at the sink, pretending to be invisible.
Nick often had friends over after school to play video games or do homework. This house, across the street from the school, was a hub for after-school activities with snacks for friends whose parents worked late. Friendships bloomed.
One year, Jim built an ice toboggan slide on our sloping front lawn. He sculpted piles of snow with buckets of hot water to craft a shiny, rock hard surface that curved and slanted to form a short but fast run. This is our front garden in the winter - not much space for an ice slide, but Jim managed it. Sometimes the kids tumbled off the sled into the hedge, but they escaped laughing and unscathed.
Nick's school across the street has a large parking lot and playing field where we spent many after-school hours playing. In the summer, Natalie attached a skipping rope to link Nick's wheelchair and her bicycle. They set up a slalom course on the tarmac and had hilarious obstacle races. In the winter, we got bolder and tied Nick's recumbent sled to our dog Goldie's leash. Then we threw a tennis ball. Woosh! Off they went across the snowy field, Goldie barking and Nick screeching in delight.
Of course, I remember Christmases here.
We have happy memories in this house, but some painful ones, too. Nicholas experienced his most difficult struggles with pain here.
It's bittersweet to leave, but I am excited for a new chapter in the life of our family. We've bought a new house in the countryside just outside of Ottawa and still close to Nick and to my Mom. Just a short distance away, we will be in the woods with a babbling creek in the back garden. Our latest purchase is a 'bear-proof' garbage storage bin. Nick makes his first visit this weekend and I'm hoping that Natalie will be home for Canadian Thanksgiving. I don't know what our new life will be like exactly, but one thing I can guarantee is that the fall colours will be gorgeous.