17 Nov If This Crib Could Talk
Nearly ten years ago I walked into our house in Cheverly, Maryland for the first time, but it wasn’t yet our house. We had been looking at the house next door when we ran into the next door neighbor who told us their house was for sale as well, so we decided to check it out.
As we walked into the house and looked around, I couldn’t help getting excited. I was six months pregnant with our first child and everything about this house screamed “I’m home!” To me. Trying not to appear over-eager, I began to ask the current owners some questions about the house and what they loved about it.
As the “lady of the house” began to speak, her voice choked up as she shared that they had lived here for over twenty years, raised their children here, and formed life-long friendships. Her love for her home was tangible to us all and quite touching.
She showed me the rooms where she had rocked her babies, posted prayers to the walls for her children as they grew, cooked favorite meals. My eyes began to be opened to all of the life that had taken place in this space.
I was young and nomadic at the time – in our six years of marriage, my husband and I had already lived in three states and multiple locations, including a half-year Around the World trip to nineteen countries. I had no solid attachment to place – only people.
As we signed the papers and bought the home, I remember thinking to myself that I truly loved the house, but could move whenever God called and it wouldn’t be a big deal. Packing and unpacking was my life at that point and all that I knew.
And then we had our baby girl. We had prepped the nursery with ladybugs and lamps and matching curtains. And we bought a crib that I just love – a smooth, tan-colored wood with edges that curve slightly and one side that moves up and down easily.
Exchanging Wings for Roots
All the memories began and have continued for over nine years now. I have grown to appreciate this lovely home in so many ways I never knew I would. The wood floors have held up well as our four little kids and their friends have run circles and pounded upon them day in and day out. The windows in our sunporch offered me a view of the changing seasons when I had to sit inside during four postpartum periods, holding and nursing my babies.
The walls have been colored, spilled, splattered, painted, and drawn on. There are even remnants of the infamous “red nail polish incident” in which an entire bottle of nail polish was spilled onto the tile and wall of our downstairs bathroom. The front door has opened and closed thousands of times as we have greeted friends and family and even said some tearful goodbyes.
Last weekend I took my girls shopping and when I came home, I discovered that my husband had decided it was time for our baby (o.k., so he’s not a ‘baby’, but a toddler) to move into a real “big boy bed” and out of his crib.
I surprised myself as I balked. “He’s fine in the crib!” I protested. “He could stay there another six months to a year!” I petitioned. But it was too late. My handy husband had already made the measurements and headed out to Lowe’s with his list. By the end of the day, my little boy had a bed (which he was jumping on gleefully) and I looked with emotion at the crib pushed to the corner of the room.
Those of you who know me know that I am not a hoarder by nature. I love simplifying and purging our home from any unnecessary stuff. Other than “memory boxes” I made for each of us to store special letters and memories in, I’m not one to hold onto stuff for sentimental reasons.
And yet here I was, staring at the crib in the corner of the room, tears welling up in my eyes. If this crib could talk, it would have hundreds of stories to tell. Thousands of prayers prayed, stories read, songs sung. This crib could tell of my four precious children moving from the gurgles of infancy to the tenacity of toddlerhood.
This crib could tell of dreams and nightmares, fevers and sicknesses, dance parties and sibling snuggle times. It wasn’t just a crib to me in that moment, but a house of treasured memories.
My husband urged me to “take a picture of the crib so we can sell it” and I complied. And yet, as I photographed our crib, which in a matter of moments had simply become a piece of furniture for sale, I realized that I finally knew the joy and pain of being attached to a home, a place, and all that entails.
The crib will be sold and I’m ok with that. It has served its purpose, for my roots have gone down deep. Being settled carries with it some pains I never knew in my life as a nomad. But the joys and relational depth are worth it all.