A little boy playing in moving boxes
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When Moving House Is Like Losing A Member Of The Family

Jan 4, 2018

Moving isn’t easy at the best of times. All the packing, planning and organization takes time and energy — two things of which I don’t have any extra.

I am more attached than ever to what I know is nothing more than bricks and mortar.

But for me, as my boys and I plan to move out of our family home and into my fiancé’s, it’s particularly emotional. Over the last several months, I’ve been sifting through old family portraits, giving away toddler toys and folding up tiny baby clothes. It’s a big undertaking, and I often feel overwhelmed at all I have left to do. I’ve spent seven years filling my house with not just things, but memories, too, and now I’ve got to pack it all away.

I remember what it was like to move into this house with two babies and a husband. We were so excited to own our first property and officially become adults. We painted and decorated and made it our own. Before long, I knew every light switch in the dark, could identify which appliances made what sounds. The house became my home.


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As my kids grew older, I witnessed so many firsts in the house. We’ve celebrated our birthdays in this house. I once even threw a poo-poo party the first time my oldest son used the toilet. I taught them to ride bikes on our street and play baseball on our lawn. This is the house we decorate year after year for Halloween — the street on which we first learned to trick-or-treat.

I’ve spent seven years filling my house with not just things, but memories, too, and now I’ve got to pack it all away.

When I got divorced just after Halloween five years ago, I lived in this house with just my boys. I found solace and safety within these walls. This was my retreat, the place that comforted me when I needed to escape the outside world. You’d think I’d be in a rush to sell my home after a divorce, to start fresh, create new memories elsewhere, but I never once felt the need to leave. Instead, I redecorated. I hung on tight.

After a while, I began to date. I opened my heart and my door to the man who is now my fiancé. This is where we often hang out, have sleepovers with the kids, and where he plays street hockey and catch with my boys. I love the big old trees on my lawn, my neighbours, even the white noise from the highway nearby. I am more attached than ever to what I know is nothing more than bricks and mortar.


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I know that change is inevitable. It’s part of life. Now, it’s time to pack up my memories, load up boxes with things and clear out my home. We are literally and figuratively moving on.

This [house] was my retreat, the place that comforted me when I needed to escape the outside world.

It sounds silly, but I wish I could give my house a hug. Thank it for giving us shelter through everything we’ve weathered. I debated having an art student paint a portrait of my house. I thought about saving a piece of it — perhaps the address nailed to the stone out front — and taking it with me. But I don’t think anything can do this home justice.

Instead, we’ll take the most important things — our memories — and hold them close to our hearts. Years from now, I might not remember where all the light switches used to be or which of my kids’ finger paintings hung from which wall, but I will fondly remember the place we lived and all that happened here.

Article Author Erin Silver
Erin Silver

Read more from Erin here.

Erin Silver is a freelance writer and blogger whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, The Globe and Mail, and many other national magazines and newspapers. A single mom, she is hard at work on her first book about the adventures of divorce and single parenthood. Visit her online at erinsilver.ca.

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