As children, my parents used to drive us past the San Francisco apartment they lived in before moving to the burbs. They stayed there during my oldest brother’s first year of life. My mom, who is not a crier, said that she wailed the day they left that little spot in the city. As a child, I never understood why she cried. And yet, here I sit, absolutely confident that life will repeat itself; that I am my mother’s daughter and the tears will come by the boat load as we say our goodbyes to our San Francisco apartment today.
The photos from our previous apartment don’t tell the full story. Our last apartment was cramped, filled to the brim with stuff; it was loud, with forever clanking and unpleasant whiz of the bus right outside our door; it was sterile, with a landlord that made sure you followed all the rules at every second. It nearly drove us out of the city, prematurely.
I will never forget walking into our current apartment for the first time. We were the last couple the landlord was to show to and we just squeezed in a viewing before she made her final decision. Immediately, we both knew this was a place that we would love to live but we didn’t know how it would fulfill us.
We didn’t know that the small bedroom off of ours would hold our baby tight at night; with the womb like size of the room, she could stay safe, wrapped up all on her own.
We didn’t know that our bedroom off of the kitchen would provide us with the solace and silence needed to recharge our batteries and face life with energy.We didn’t know that I would take a pregnancy test between the walls of the bathroom that would seal our fate as the lucky ones with a growing family.We didn’t know that the formal living room off of the bathroom would feel cozy and provide comfort for when the fog rolls in so fast that the windows rattle and collect mist.We didn’t know that the dining room would be a happy spot for family gatherings and for friends to come together to laugh, to love and to story tell.We didn’t know that the small office would supply some big ideas; it’s tucked away feeling giving me fuel and an outlet from my, at times mundane, mom duties.We didn’t know that the long hallway would be where Josie would take her first steps from Graham’s arms to mine.When we signed the lease, we didn’t know that our landylady would not only be wonderful to us, but that she would become a part of our family.We didn’t know that the walls of this apartment would be the place we are most proud to show off as the memories between these walls have nurtured us, challenged us and watched us grow beyond stretches we though possible.Beyond these walls and stretched to the city limits, lies the ground where I met my husband, birthed our first child and conceived our second. I think of 24 year old me, who moved here semi-reluctantly yet simply by giving San Francisco a chance, the city gave me more then I could have ever asked for.Why must we leave such a joyous location, these nurturing walls? I’m afraid life would turn into a grind as we squeeze in another body. The feeling of pride I get when I walk to my front door would turn to dread as I contemplate how to carry two kids and their stuff up the many stairs. Our sweet neighborhood that we cherish would be faced with groans as I circled for parking time and again with double the tears in the back.And so, just like many greats before us, even the likes of Seinfeld and Cheers, we must leave while the going is good. We must turn the key one last time with bittersweet tears and take with us the memories to a new home where will again build a happy life.While we are sad to leave, we are filled with hope for our new home and we can’t wait to see the stories it will tell.
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