I knew we were moving a year before we actually shut the door on the moving van and hit the road. In late August 2014, the Hubs got a promotion (yipee!) that required we relocate from Louisville, KY to Cincinnati, OH (boo!).
Prior to taking up residence in the ‘Ville, moving had been a regular thing for my family. Thanks to the Army and then the Hubs’ civilian employer, we hadn’t even spent two year in one place for the first seven years of our marriage. When we moved to Louisville, the Older One was five years old, and he had already lived in four states.
Louisville was different. With more opportunities for both of us, we discovered we no longer had to go where the jobs were. We put down a few roots. We made some friends. We got involved in our community…and we stayed for more than 16 years.
Over time, I fell in love with the charm of The River City…the Kentucky Derby Festival with its steamboat races and chow wagons, Churchill Downs with its twin spires and “run for the roses”, and the down-home culture of bourbon-drinkin’ and horse-raisin’.
The fleur de lis, a nod to Louisville’s French influence, became as much a part of my identity as that of the city. A walk through my kitchen yielded almost as may sightings of the symbol as a stroll through downtown.
About 11 years into our 16-year stint in Louisville, the Hubs and I decided to look for a new house, something bigger, something newer, something we could stay in until we turned gray and got visits from someone calling me “Grandmomma.”
That’s when we found it…our dream house…the one with the closet big enough for all my shoes, the gourmet kitchen and the huge wooded back yard where the deer came to visit regularly and a choir of birds sang sweet songs every morning.
My heart sank when our real estate agent drove the “For Sale” sign into the front lawn.
From that moment on, life became a constant string of “one lasts”…one last lunch with co-workers, one last party with friends, one last cup of coffee in the oasis of my back deck. The morning the movers were scheduled to pack our things for the 115 mile trek north, I sipped that coffee, listened to the birds, and cried. Then I pulled out my phone and recorded the yard.
Somewhere in the Cloud, I have a 75 second video of my view from the deck complete with twittered harmony and the whisper of rustling leaves. We’ve been gone for three months; I haven’t been able to watch it yet.
After my coffee, the hubs and I made one last tour of the house to make sure nothing was left behind. I found myself in the master bath where the fleur de lis stained glass window hangs over the tub. I reached out and touched the coordinating tile lining the walls, and apologized to my house for leaving so soon.
The Young One and I were the advance party on moving day, so I hustled her into the car with the dogs, waved a quick goodbye to the neighbors and drove away from Louisville.
We pulled into our new driveway several hours before the Hubs. His job that day was to supervise the packing of the truck, mine was to prep the new house for the unpacking. I went from room to room with my Swiffer duster while the Young One helped the dogs get acquainted to their new territory.
I was dusting a mirror in a half-bath when I saw it. I blinked and turned by head sideways to make sure. I smiled, and my eyes filled again. This time with happy tears because in the corner of the mirror’s frame was a fleur de lis.
I snapped a picture and hurried to another bathroom, then to the kitchen, and like some life-sized hidden objects game, I looked everywhere for the fleur de lis. There! In that light fixture! Over there, in the tile!
They weren’t as ornate or prominent as a Louisville fleur de lis, but they were there nonetheless. I knew we were doing the right thing then, and I knew this new place with its touches of familiar comforts was going to be home.