We loved our “house on the hill” since we first walked through its doors three years ago. We looked past the steep driveway and overgrown landscape, and focused on the quiet cul de sac and the private backyard lined with tall trees. We saw the potential to add hardwood floors, to open and update the kitchen, and to convert the living room into an office for Nick. We knew it was the perfect place to call our first home.
Sam was just seven months old when we moved in. We painted his nursery green and hung his birds mobile from the ceiling. He took his first steps in the kitchen and quickly learned to scale the mulched bed in the backyard. He learned to ride his tricycle in the cul de sac and fly his kite among the trees. Before long, he figured out how to climb out of his crib, and so we transitioned his nursery into a big boy room with a railroad crossing sign on the wall and a LEGO table at the foot of the bed.
Sam helped to mow the lawn and shovel the driveway and pick peppers from the garden. He wore his Steelers jersey to Sunday afternoon neighborhood parties and bravely went down the slide into our neighbor’s pool. He raced scooters with the girls across the street and kicked his soccer ball from one yard to the next.
He raced firetrucks and flew airplanes around the house — from the living room, through the kitchen and dining room, around the desk in the office, past the front door, and across the finish line at the bottom of the steps. He hid behind every curtain, inside every cabinet, and on the opposite side of every door. He helped Poppy to build the beautiful bookcase in our office and reconstruct the railing at our front porch.
This is the only home that Lucy has known. She grew from a fluffy furball who slid across the hardwood floors to a lioness who watched over the neighborhood from her perch under the tree at the top of our yard. She ran to the street to collect treats from Pete the Mailman and barked when her friend, PJ, came out to play. She slept in the small space between the bookcase and the windows in the office, or on the front porch, with her front two paws hanging off the first step. She chased deer and squirrels from our backyard and ran through the electric fence at least a dozen times to join us in the cul de sac. She protected our house and kept me company while Nick spent late nights at school.
After almost two years, we finally moved the extra boxes from the room we always knew would become a nursery. We brought Nora home on one of the coldest days in history — our minivan barely made it up the icy driveway. She slept in our room for a few weeks before we moved her into the nursery, painted purple with white furniture and floral curtains. I spent many nights rocking her to sleep, gazing out the window as snowflakes fell.
Nora took her first steps there, too — across the rug in the living room. And before long, she was following Sam and running laps around the house, climbing the stairs, and trying to escape every time I opened the door to let Lucy out. She squealed with excitement at the top of the steps when she heard Daddy’s car pull up the driveway. She climbed onto the toy chest and looked out the window and pointed and laughed when she saw Lucy laying outside. She was obsessed with the snack cupboard and followed me into the laundry room when she heard the door to the washing machine open.
It is so sad to think that the kids will not remember this home — the front porch where they consumed many popsicles, the kitchen counter where they stood to help bake chocolate chip cookies, and the basement where we ran races and played basketball and watched movies.
But we will share the memories and the photos, and we will tell them lots of stories about the house on the hill.
About how we hosted holidays and birthdays there. How we extended our dining room table to accommodate loved ones. How we strung twinkling lights from the banister and homemade birthday banners from the mantle. How we hung snowflakes on every window and every wall, tied superhero capes to the shelves, and stacked orange construction cones across the kitchen island.
We made friends who feel like family and who will be in our lives forever. The kind of friends who treat our kids like their own. Who bring casseroles and cakes and offer to help when we need an extra set of hands. Who suggest we meet at the park before dinner, or get ice cream after, because it’s just been one of those days. Who invite us over for wine and insist we wear sweatpants. And who text us crazy stories about their kids to make us feel better about our own.
And we could not have wished for better neighbors. The kind of neighbors who invite us over to watch football on Sunday afternoon and send us home with pulled pork leftovers for the next day. Who include us in family reunions and pool parties and who never forget to spoil our kids on birthdays or holidays. Who leave a strawberry plant or a bag of tomatoes at our door step. Who help to shovel our driveway and offer to feed Lucy if we can’t make it home for mealtime. And who watch the kids so Nick and I can sneak out for a much needed date night.
We knew we this could never be our forever home — because of Nick’s career aspirations. But our house on the hill will forever hold a special place in our hearts.