Last week while driving around with the girl, I was trying to put a positive spin on clearing out her bedroom. I could tell the finality was getting to her.
"I bet you a dollar we find a Lite Brite peg," I told her, referring to the vast wasteland that is the floor under her bed, her favored places for dirty socks and small toys. We'd passed that Lite Brite toy on to someone else or to the trash bin years ago, but those pegs keep showing up like glitter that hangs on long after the holiday decorations are put away.
When we cleared her room, she was perturbed—"Mom, you owe me ten dollars." Apparently there was a lot of inflation in a week's time. "I didn't find any Lite Brite pegs."
That made me sort of sad. I mean, I expected there would be proof of us left in this place we stayed for eleven years—the longest we've been static in all our time together.
Yesterday I was going through the house with a vacuum before the cleaner came (seriously—nobody needs to see my herd of dustbunnies but me), and while going through her room and hitting the baseboards with the attachment to get all the dustbunnies and toys left behind obscured by them (LEGOS. So many LEGOS.), I was rewarded.
The last remaining Lite Brite peg. This one was particularly good at hiding, what with the lack of color and all. I felt validated when I found it and may have yelled out "A HA!" but I was quickly brought to the place of memory, the ghosts of our lives all around us and I understood the taste of bittersweet.
The taste of bittersweet is Lite Brite pegs hiding in the baseboards.
It's the first room we painted in the first home we owned, blue for our boy.
It's the words we put on the wall in the kitchen, a reminder of how to navigate life.
It's the tree that served as the backdrop of so many first day of school pictures, first as a young sapling, later as a strong guardian of our yard. This tree that was full of leaves before the moving truck came, only to shed them like tears two short days later.
Farewell, tree. We'll miss you, too.
This house has served us well over the years, has held us close in sorrow and joy. Thankfully, mostly joy. We're moving on to new adventures, but we'll never forget where we started.