First We Say Goodbye {On Feeling Untethered}

by Andrea Kolber


In the last 15 years, I have moved at least ten times. Each move caused me to feel a bit untethered—as though the world wouldn’t know me anymore once I left my address. Almost like the physical place is why people knew me at all, and once I left it, my permanence in the world would be gone and my place in it erased.

There were the times in college when moving felt as simple as throwing my stuff in a bag, grabbing my journal, books, and a few pictures. I sensed the whole world was available to me, and it felt as ripe as a strawberry ready to pick. In those days, I mostly tried to ignore the gaping hole of change and would try to only embrace what lie ahead.

There were the times after college when my heart had been broken; in a way that felt irreparable, and I moved with a sense of hope, but also the weight of sorrow and grief. I didn’t know what was ahead, but I knew—with certainty—it would be better than where I was currently. By the grace of God, something in me pushed and moved into this truth, and convinced my unadventurous side to move thousands of miles from nearly all the people I knew.

And then once I lived in Denver, after I met my husband, moves didn’t feel quite so scary—until we moved into the house on Flower. Then, I felt excited but also overwhelmed. The house was built in 1954, but had been remodeled sometime in the early 70’s. As we surveyed the market at the time, we knew this house had mounds of potential. But I was also too wary to put my purse on the floor the first time we looked around.

It was that bad.

The green brick was intense. The yard was an almost half an acre jungle. The paneling made me dizzy—and the carpeting in the bathroom nearly made me cry.

Actually, it did make me cry.  

We were also in the midst of parenting a fiery 11 month old, B was switching jobs, I was building my private practice and we were very, very tired.

Tia (11 months) and I while project managing our house (also, notice the Tiki bar in the back corner!) 

Tia (11 months) and I while project managing our house (also, notice the Tiki bar in the back corner!) 

So for all those reasons, it seemed like a good time to take on a major housing project, and the house on Flower became our other baby.

**

As we gained footing with our remodel and house eventually became livable, I was faced with the root reason I felt terrified. It wasn’t so much the house, as I had thought (although that would continue to be it’s own thing!), it was having to start over again in a new address—but this time as a mom.

I had to find friends. I had to find mom friends. I had to figure out what to do with my child on the short, dark winter days and the hot, winding summer days too. I had to figure out how to stay calm when the day seemed like it would never end and I all I wanted was to take a nap or run away.

**

The long and short of it is I did do those things. God grew me in remarkable ways as I learned to mother. It was hard and awkward, but I made dear friends. B and I learned our rhythm again as a couple. I began to find my people. I learned how to lean in (usually!), even when I felt like it was impossible.

One of my favorite places in our house is to watch the sunset from our kitchen sink. 

One of my favorite places in our house is to watch the sunset from our kitchen sink. 

And this is why, as we pack up our house on Flower, I am feeling a bit untethered again. This house represents a season that was beautiful, good, hard, bittersweet, and fleeting. My baby learned to walk here. We grieved infertility and a miscarriage here. I took a chance on writing here. I have soothed hundreds of tantrums here. I have made friends here. I have said goodbye here. I have welcomed our rainbow baby here.

We have lived here.

I feel certain we will feel rooted once again, and I am excited and hopeful for our coming change. But first, it feels right to say: thanks for the memories Flower Street.