Last night Alex and I had a move-out walk-through with our former tenants and our property managers to look for damage. It was so strange to go back to the townhouse. We moved out almost exactly two years ago to head to Atlanta, and it almost felt like going back in time when we stepped inside.
Things were not great when we moved out. Alex was still in the ever-shrinking newspaper industry, and I was unemployed and feeling crappy about it. We also had been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, and had no idea why things were taking so long (considering my mother and sisters got pregnant very easily, sometimes without even trying).
Anyhoo, our life together has improved in so many ways. Alex has a job he loves in an industry that's growing, not disappearing. I've found a good amount of freelance writing work that keeps me busy, and which I really enjoy. And finally, we are in the home stretch to becoming parents.
There is one glaring absence. My mother is gone. But I felt her presence in the townhouse as we visited last night. She loved that house, and visited whenever she could. She would even come down to stay and take care of our dog and cats if we'd go away for the weekend. Mom would go to the 7-11, buy a Starbucks frappacino (sic) in a bottle (even thought there was an actual Starbucks selling real coffee just a block away) and sit on a bench on the boardwalk at the beach. She'd sit there for hours, just people watching and enjoying the smell of the sea. It's why my sisters and I chose to scatter her ashes near that very spot.
I worried that moving back to the house would bring up painful memories of my mother. But every time she was there, she was happy, and vibrant, and that's how I like to remember her. Moving back will make me feel closer to her, I just know it.