The Story Of A House- The Final Days

The walls in this place are starting to look rather bare. Most of the kids’ artwork has been taken down as have the pictures. There are stacks of boxes and scraps paper floating around and the mood is a bit grim. Ten years ago I moved us into this place thinking that it would be a starter home. Ten years ago I was flying high with a beautiful ten month old son and a career that was in high gear. I have vivid memories of standing in the backyard staring at the Koi pond and wondering if the fish would survive “Little Jack.”

It never dawned on me that a month later I’d watch people jumping from the towers while that beautiful boy of mine played with blocks. I am a writer a dreamer and an avid Tom Clancy reader but still I never thought about that stuff really happening. A few years later when we started raining bombs down on Baghdad I walked in the house and watched that kid race towards me on tiny legs and wondered what the world would look like when he got to be a little bit older. His great grandparents were born during WWI, grandparents during WWII and parents during Vietnam. Not that it matters.

I wander around the house and remember that first Thanksgiving here. He had five great grandparents who doted on him, four of them were my grandparents. I remember all four of them telling me how proud they were and how exciting it was. I remember my grandfathers talking to me about how I would begin to appreciate some things in a different way. I remember them telling stories and talking about what was and now I try not to think about what isn’t. Or maybe I should clarify that by saying, who isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful. I got to know my grandparents as a man, husband and father. We didn’t just chat, we talked. We shared thoughts, secrets and stories. Even though I carry them in my heart I feel like a piece of me has been removed and I have been crippled. They were are men that I loved and I made sure that they knew it. Though they aren’t here I still feel their presence and they will forever walk with me.

The children begged me tonight to cancel the move. They were both in tears over it and I had to look at them and tell them to accept it. Part of me was furious about having to do it and part was fine. Change is a part of life. There are more changes coming and some of them will very likely be hard.

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The blogosphere is something that I discovered while living here. This blog and the others like it have helped me to chronicle and record our life here. I look through my stats and see that today people clicked onWounded By Words, The Right Words and A Jealous Man. Someone spent an hour reading Help Me.

I sit here at the kitchen table and stare out at the darkness and realize that the days of writing from this vantage point are rapidly coming to an end. I sit here and stare out at the darkness and think about how August 2011 will be the month that I remember for burying my grandfather, my sister’s wedding, moving and one hell of a family vacation.

I sit here at the table and think about what lessons I have learned and what to tell the kids. And all I come up with is more gratitude for what we have. There are changes, big changes facing all of us but I feel optimistic. Change is an opportunity and G-d willing this is the kind of opportunity that leads to something bigger and better.

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The hotel we stayed at is on a hillside that overlooks the ocean. Catch the view at the right moment and it is stunning. Little Jack and I are playing Chess. I love playing with him. Love watching his mind work. His sister comes over and whispers in his ear. He waves her off and I smile. These two have their own club and parents aren’t invited. I love seeing this part of them, love knowing that they have a world that I am not a part of- warms my soul.

I am thirsty and in need of a drink so I decide to play aggressively. I look up and tell him that I am about to devastate his defense and he laughs. “You want a piece of me dad.” I nod and tell him that I don’t want a piece- I want chunks. He laughs again. Three moves later I am fighting for my life.

The kid suckered me. My son has fooled me and used a trick to gain the upper hand. I am so proud that my heart feels like it is going to burst- but I am competitive. I don’t want to lose. I look at him and remind him to always watch the angles. I begin to systematically take him apart. Knights, bishops and a rook are consumed as are a handful of pawns. The victory I sought arrives but not as easily as I had expected.

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Alone in the dark I listen to Fleetwood Mac sing “Don’t Stop” and a wry smile crosses my face. It is time to get some shut eye. Tomorrow is already here and the kids will wake soon. We don’t have a choice about moving- but we can choose how we approach it. It is goofy, it is hokey and it is a cliche. I close my eyes and hear feel my grandfathers standing next to me. The echoes of the future are here and I can’t ignore them any longer.

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