We went grocery shopping, just her and I, to fill a cart with things that would be in the cupboards of our new house. That first trip, the one that you aren’t sure what you have at home, the one where you need to buy jarred minced garlic and ketchup, it’s exciting – it’s expensive – it’s lonnngg. Halfway through the store my little scanner helper asked when we were going to the new house. I made the error in telling her that the groceries we were buying were going to the new house, that WE were going to the new house, that WE were going to stay the night in the new house and live there forever and ever and ever. My little helper went from scanner queen to “are we done yet, Mommy?”

We drove the back roads to the house, around twisty 20 mph curves and hills, and arrived there just us two. Steve had gone back to his parents to load the car up again to overflowing. My parents were on their way. Connor was sleeping at Kiki’s.

She bolted through the garage and up the stairs. The house smelled of new paint and a turning page. It smelled like promise and hope and sugared cookies. I got down on my knees in front of her, looked into her brilliant chocolate eyes, held her hands tightly and told her we were home. This was her home. It was all hers. It would always be there for her, just like I would. I told her to go and see her room, her own wonderful “Robin’s Nest” colored room.

I have a photo of her racing down the hall in my mind, I have the sound of her excited squeal of preschool joy etched on my heart. I have the wet memory of that solitary tear that rolled down my cheek and onto the wooden floor at my feet.


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