On Tuesday evening I drove away from our Toronto home for the last time. I peered over the tower of laundry that kept Noodle and I company in the back seat and felt such a strange mixture of wistfulness and excitement. The city will always be in my blood, but I’m excited to leave it and move on to new and exciting things.
Our house on Bedford Road was the first home the three of us shared together. (Click here if you require an explanation for ‘the three of us’.) We’ve had our share of fond memories in this house, but we’ve also had a great deal of sorrow. It isn’t easy to reinvent the wheel, and we’ve had to learn a lot of things the hard way. Hearts have been badly broken in that house, and the repair continues to this day.
Our little girls went on to their new country home on Sunday with their grandparents, but before we said goodbye, we lit a small candle in the centre of our living room and made a little circle. We all held hands and encouraged the girls to share some happy memories of their home, and had them say a final goodbye. It was very sweet – all of their memories are wonderful ones – and they got a little choked up. I think they were mostly interested in seeing which of the grown ups would cry first. Of course it was me.
I felt bittersweet. Happy that so many of their memories were precious, and sad that my own experience of our home was double-edged. Each configuration of our adult relationships has dissolved at one point under that roof, and not all of those relationships have been restored in the same way.
I can say with confidence that all of our grown up relationships are better than they have ever been. I can say that we have created much more emotional safety and security for all of us. It’s no secret that this path has been hard, and heart wrenching. I think the key reason for our struggle was lack of knowledge. Even with a few clever books, we didn’t really have a roadmap, and the best road map in the world is useless if you don’t know yourself.
Therapy and determination are the only reasons why my family is together today, and stronger than ever. Even in the midst of the darkest hours of chaos and pain, I could feel in my soul that our paths were meant to be together, and I think I must have shared that feeling because here we all are. Without the guidance of our wonderful therapist, I don’t think I ever would have found the courage to fight for what I wanted, which was our family, together.
I’m not so very religious anymore, but the way our relationship has persisted against all odds has taught me a kind of faith that is greater to me than the faith of religion. It’s a devotion that is tangible and real, something I can see and feel every day in the smiles of our children and the warmth of our home, wherever it may be.
251 Bedford Road is growing mushrooms in the basement. Our old house grew a baby in my belly. The bricks and mortar sheltered Hannu and Aylu as they grew several inches and many miles in maturity. Our city house at the corner of a busy street grew our three souls into three separate worlds that unite beautifully and peacefully shelter their own stratosphere. These worlds continue to revolve, and we pilgrims continue to discover the richness of our strange and wonderful shores.
Thank you city for starting me out on this amazing journey.