Angela Amman is a short story and essay writer. She is one of the many talented writers I connected with online via the group Write on Edge (formerly The Red Dress Club). Angela is a mother to two rapidly growing children, a gatherer of moments, and a weaver of words. Collecting her family's stories is a gift-in-progress for her daughter and son. She blogs at AngelaAmman.com, reviewing books and capturing the craziness and beauty that weave together to create something extraordinary.
Angela is thrilled to share others' stories as a co-director/co-producer of Listen to Your Mother Metro Detroit. She is a managing editor at Bannerwing Books and contributing writer at AllParenting and Savvy Sassy Moms. When she should be sleeping, she works on her latest short story collection. Her short stories have appeared in her collection, Nothing Goes Away, and various anthologies.
The dollhouse sits empty, cardboard walls framing empty spaces. She's moved the furniture and a handful of dolls to the floor of the spare bedroom. Light streams through the windows there, painting broad spaces where she plays with sunlight on her skin.
After nine months in our new house, we're all beginning to learn those spaces — the places we can go to find the best light. When we collected our keys last August, I planned to "move in," like it was a finite process. We started projects and painted, had our kitchen remodeled and unpacked boxes upon boxes into new closets and familiar dressers.
With each step, I waited to feel like we were finally home.
Some of the first photos we took in our new house were Abbey's first day of school pictures. The porch seemed like the only possible location; it wasn't littered with boxes or unknown slants of light and shadows that made attempts near the fireplace unsatisfactory.
This week, she stood on the porch for the brief moment it took to snap a few pictures. Her hand slid into mine as we crossed the street, skin soft, her fingers not much longer than when she started the school year. Her growth, it seems, happened mostly on the inside this year — in the way she ran ahead of me on the sidewalk, walked confidently to her familiar line, remembered to pause for a moment to say goodbye to the brother who misses her every day, even after a full school year of saying goodbye to her each morning.
Between the first and last days of kindergarten, we've lived in a jumble of boxes and house projects. I've planned and re-arranged organizational systems more times than I like to remember. I can't find my pizza cutter, though I'm the only one who unloads the dishwasher — and I know I used it for last night's dinner. Our rooms feel like perpetual limbo, baby steps overwhelmed by the leaps I'd love to take to get our house to look the way we want.
Driving along the curving streets last week, my eyes blinked a few times at how green the trees looked. I'd been contemplating duvet covers and mentally composing emails about the end-of-the-year kindergarten party, and somehow the trees had filled into their lush glory.
They looked exactly as they did when we first fell in love with our neighborhood while house hunting last summer.
After tossing my purse inside, I sat on the deck while the kids played. I managed not to fixate on the sagging boards and the timeline we have for replacing the entire structure. A butterfly hopped and flitted from splintered wood to cling to the textured screen door, and I wondered how the humidity affected their wings. After a few bursts of conversation, the kids wandered to the crabapple tree. I slid my feet from my flip flops to keep from rescuing my laptop from the kitchen table to race toward one of the looming deadlines on my list.
I stretched my toes in the sunshine, glad I'd taken a few minutes to smooth the soft, pastel teal across my nails. Laughter drifted from across the lawn. I watched their conversation without hearing the words, and I let myself appreciate the warm air, heavy with the promise of summer vacation and the contented feeling of finally being home.
Moving is hard, and turning a house into a home takes time. I'm glad you finally feel you are out of limbo and settling in, Angela! Enjoy the summer! And thank you for taking part in my series!
Check out the other Summer Series contributors:
And be sure to come back next week to meet Carol Cassara!