Late February of last year we drove to see the inside of a house we had fallen in love with on the outside. The whole drive there Mark and I took turns saying “we shouldn’t go” “let’s turn around” “this is way too far from everything.” In between, I’m sure we said things like “don’t throw your shoes” and “who brought Silly Putty IN THE CAR?” but I blocked it out of my memory.
After shaking hands with our realtor, we scrunched our noses walking through a laundry room that smelled like wet dog and then it went uphill from there. The fireplace, the kids’ rooms, the claw foot tub, the details my design-challenged self would never have come up with. Mark and I exchanged “can you believe this place?” glances as we crossed paths through rooms and stairways.
Once the kids were far beyond civil, I strapped them down in the car so Mark could talk to the realtor and hear his own voice. From the car I saw what looked like a tombstone under the porch so I got out to see what history was tucked under the wood beams. The stone was worn from almost 200 years of wear but the birth and death dates were in the same year, just months apart. A baby had lived and died here.
This weekend is our first big snow in the house too far from everything and sometimes we hear noises and doors open or televisions turn on but I like it. I don’t believe in hauntings or ghosts I just believe in the spirit of families that lived here before us. I understand deeply the mother who may have taken comfort by having her lost little one buried just yards from where the rest of her family lived on.
Mark is outside plowing with the kids and I’m not sure the snow is clearing much, just moving around from place to place while the kids vie for the next turn to help their Daddy. A few minutes ago I stood in the garage and took pictures from afar and watched the snow whiten the last of our steps as the kids fell every two feet or so.
The chipped and faded tombstone sits just where I found it under our porch and the kids run past kicking up snow. Gloves are soggy and there is fog on my camera lens and the snow quiets everything but giggles. There’s living and smiling on memories and I’m very sure this is why we’re here.
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