There's a road the girls and I travel pretty often around here. We call it "taking the long way home".
In the humid, unbearable days of summer, I've been known to pack the girls in the car for a chance to sit in the cool of the air conditioning for a few minutes. Cooling our bodies, renewing my sanity, we'd take the long way home.
In the fall, we'd take the long way home–an excuse to escape through the woods and note the changes in the colors of the trees. After a storm, we'd take the long way home–to see how high the stream got.
The road is mostly unpaved, winds along the creek and is tented in trees. It passes by the farm where Emma rides each week. And takes a sharp turn at the edge of a hill that I've heard my grandfather refer to as the best view in the county.
After so many trips down this road, the girls and I have each sort of chosen a house along the way that's our favorite. Elizabeth loves one that "needs some work." Because she likes to work. Emma's picked one with plenty of room for horses. And secretly, I have this little favorite one, too.
A white house with green shutters that sits way back off the road. You can't see much of it from the road, but I've always felt like it looks like something set in a dfferent time, a different place. It's been my favorite all along.
At the beginning of this summer that house became empty. The husband and wife that lived there for years, passed away. The rest of the family was ready to let it go. And through connections and family and God's good grace, that little house, that favorite of mine, found it's way into our little family.
The process has been a long one. Since the beginning of summer we've been talking and waiting, planning, then waiting. There were long conversations leaning against fence posts. And in parking lots of the convenience store at the corner. Things to arrange. Ideas to throw around. Hurdles to overcome. And lots and lots of waiting.
And then that same week that we were dealing with the stress and sorrow of the rabies incident, it all fell through. We had to walk away. And honestly, I was pretty devastated. It had been such a long road. I thought we were so close. And then everything fell apart. But I had to trust that there must be something else. And that this was the right thing to do.
But something about the walking away turned everything around. And within weeks there were a few more conversations and a handshake and here we are…we're leaving Thomas Run and moving a stone's throw away, to that house I've always loved.
The local history books tell us it's name is Woodlawn. It smells like my grandmother's house and reminds me of the home I grew up in. In its day it was immaculate. Turns out my grandfather played tennis on the courts there (now buried under grass) with Monroe, whose silver tennis trophies covered almost every bookcase in the house. And family friends used to go there to play bridge. And Emma went there with our neighbor once to collect a load of hay. Today, Woodlawn needs some love and attention. But her bones are beautiful.
I've been waiting a long time to share this news. I suppose after such a long, emotional journey to get to this place it's still hard to let myself believe this is really happening. But with paint colors picked and a gutted kitchen and boxes being packed, it seems as though it's really happening. And my heart, that I've been holding close despite it's thumping in my chest with excitement, can finally be let go.
We've found the long way home, indeed.