The Little Blue House is gone.
Shane told me this evening, while we were sitting in the parlour, of our bigger blue house ~ the one that we own, and that we had painted blue, with white trim, exactly the way we wanted (even if the wall out front still hasn’t been painted to match, and the ironwork is rusting because some of it should probably be replaced). He said it like it was just a casual remark, something you might say about any old place.
“So, the Blue House has been torn down.”
I think I asked him to repeat it.
The Blue House. Our Blue House? The Little Blue House? Yes, he told me, he drove by, and there was just an empty lot there. It’s been completely leveled.
The Blue House. The Little Blue House. Our Little Blue House.
Not ours, really, but…
It was the first house we ever lived in. I will never forget the day Justice and I first saw it. We were coming home from school one day when we happened to drive by and see a “For Rent” sign out front, so we decided to stop in and check it out. We always loved visiting open houses, but we always knew we wouldn’t buy a house. Not anytime soon, anyway. But this house was for rent. It wasn’t far from our little apartment, and there were three large trees out front, and a nice front porch, just like I’d always wanted. The owner happened to be there cleaning up a bit, and he let us come in and look around. Two bedrooms and one bath, just like our little apartment, but with a large playroom, and a paved backyard with a covered patio area, a basketball hoop, a fenced in-ground swimming pool ~ and a poolhouse that was divided into two separate areas: one for storage, and another that would make a nice office space. It was too perfect. Some of the rooms had built-in storage. There was a fireplace, and a pantry, and the dining room was tiny, but charming. I absolutely loved it. We convinced Shane to take a look, and he loved it, too.
At about this time, I was expecting our third child, so we needed a little more space, and, while the house didn’t give us any more bedrooms or bathrooms, it did give us much more space, and a yard (albeit a paved one). It was beautiful. The Little Blue House, ‘though it was a rental, was our home. Our landlords were so kind, and we adored them. This is the place where Shane put down sod while I was in the early stages of labour with Kaia, while our friend Lauren helped me with the kids, until it was time to go to the hospital. We had a beautiful lawn and a beautiful baby ~ it made perfect sense. It was the house we brought Kaia home to when she was born, ‘though I don’t think she remembers it at all. It’s where I held her in my arms in the swimming pool, where she took her first steps, threw her first birthday cake on the pavement ~ sorry, honey, I didn’t know yet that you didn’t like fruit on your cake. It’s where I used to sit and rock her on the porch and sing to her. It’s where Justice planted her apple seed, and Hallie used to run in a loop through the living room, dining room, kitchen and playroom. It’s where the kids hosted the very first ever Island Day with their cousins, the year Kaia was born. It’s where my sister-in-law, Amy, saved Kaia’s life when she was a tiny baby.
This is the house where the kids arranged the two loft beds at different heights and Kaia’s little toddler bed to all interconnect, so their bedroom was almost like a tree fort. It’s where the enormous…what even was that thing? Was it a mosquito?? Some huge flying bug got into the house, and I whisked all of the kids, including our friend Makenzie, into our bedroom with a pizza; and we all piled onto the bed and watched a movie until someone braver than us arrived to help with the giant bug situation. It’s the house where our friend Geoff lived with us for a while, staying in the poolhouse ~ one of my favourite memories of which is overhearing what I think was a jumping contest with little Hallie in the kitchen one evening. It’s the house that was just so incredibly full of crickets, but I loved it, anyway. They say crickets in your house are good luck, right?
It was great for hosting parties, because of that big playroom, even through it wasn’t a very big house, and it had that nice outdoor area in the back that was fenced separately from the pool. It was good for shooting hoops with grandparents (or parents, if grandparents weren’t around), and making chalk drawings, and lots of messy arts and craft projects, and rollerskating, and setting off 3-2-1 Blast-Offs, and swinging on the little wooden IKEA swing ~ careful of the wooden patio edge! Where camellias grew out front, and almost nothing grew out back, because of all of the pavement (I’m exaggerating. There were plants along the fence by the pool) ~ but there was that amazing swimming pool. It hosted birthday parties, pool parties, tea parties, and sleepovers. It’s where grandparents met their youngest grandchild.
It was the first place our kids got to hang their stockings “by the chimney with care…” You know, actually by the chimney.
Just yesterday, we were driving on the cross street at the end of that block, and I was telling Justice about how, when she was young, I remember giving her cash and careful instructions, and then walking out and standing on the sidewalk to watch her cross the street to the market there so she could pick up an item or two that I needed for dinner.
It was just a rental, and so, it wasn’t really ours, but, in so many ways, it was our first house. Even in just a few short years, so much of our life happened there.
It was our Little Blue House, and we were very happy there.
I am heartbroken to hear it is gone. Like a memory has been erased. I used to like to drive by it, sometimes, just to see it, and remember those sweet, happy days.
Our Little Blue House is gone.
If I had known it was going, I might have bid it farewell.