Dear Olivia: Week 8

olivia-week8-webDear Olivia,

This week we had an exciting change of scenery: we moved into our new house!

It was bittersweet saying goodbye to Grammy and Grampa and no longer being within walking distance of their house, but we’re still only fifteen minutes away. The plus side is that it’s our very own place where you and your sister can each have a room of your own, a nice, flat backyard to play in, and plenty of space to chase each other around when you get older.

It’s very comforting to me to know that this is the house you’ll remember as the house you grew up in. I don’t think we’ll live here forever, but there’s no question this is where your very first memories will be formed.

My family lived in the same house from when I was a year old until my freshman year of high school, so that was really the house of my childhood. I remember your aunt and I shared a room for many years, and it was a glorious day when my parents renovated the upstairs and converted what I believe was a small office space into a bedroom for Aunt Leslie.

My bedroom was awesome. I remember having a desk with a drawer for files that I stuffed full of all the artwork I created at school. Grammy and Grampa let me stencil the walls in what was, at the time, a way cool design of my own making with musical notes and kokopellis. 

I didn’t have a real door to my room, though; that was the only downside. Instead I had louvered shutter doors that folded in and out, with the handles on the outside of the room. I distinctly remember your aunt trying to get into my room, yanking on the handles as hard as she could, while I desperately attempted to hold the doors shut with the tips of my fingers.

It didn’t work.

We had a nice backyard, too, that backed up to a huge wooded lot that we used to explore frequently. Your backyard only contains grass and a small plot for, I hope, a future vegetable garden — not nearly as many exploratory opportunities, I’m afraid.

We spent so much time playing on the swing set that my dad built for us — pumping our legs to soar as high as we could, flinging ourselves upside-down on the rings, and sitting in the eagle’s nest reading books (that was more my thing than your aunt’s).

Looking back, I realize now that the house was tiny, but it never really felt that way. It felt full, of course – a family of four, plus a cat and two big dogs, take up a lot of space. But even the less-than-desirable aspects of the house make me smile when I think back on it or when I talk about it with your aunt or grandparents. “Do you remember the upstairs bathroom? That ugly brown color? Oh my gawd was that awful!”

That house was where your aunt and I became sisters, and later, friends.

And that’s what makes this house so special — it’s where you and Natalie will grow up, together. I’ve told her and I’m telling you: hang onto each other, because there’s no friendship like the one between sisters. Yes, there will be times you fight and cry and scream that you hate each other, but then there are the other moments: giggling together over a shared inside joke, playing tag in the backyard, watching cartoons together in the early hours of the morning before your dad and I even get up, all of the million moments that form your shared history and forge a powerful friendship.

And when you’re just so mad at her and you wish she’d leave you alone, just remember: at least you have a proper door with the handle on the inside.

Love always,
Mama

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