I remember the day, 11 years ago, when I saw the sketch of the 15 stairs that would go in our house on the Six-Acres. A simple set of two flights, with a middle landing. The day Norman, our builder, got the stairs done Hayden and I climbed to the top and looked out to the setting sun atop a second floor that had yet to have walls or a roof placed. The view from there was fit for royalty, and I wished for a glass house so I could have that same perspective each night.
The top of the stairs holds so much emotion; a crossroads of highs and lows. Its the place in the house I think I will miss the most when the keys are passed to the new owners next week.
The top of the stairs is where the painting of Jesse dog hangs. A painting I created with bright and bold oils… and my fingertips, Jesse’s colored coat spinning with motion, just like the day I met her. Long after she had gone on to the other side I would stand at the top of the stairs and study that painting, at times I could almost feel her brush up next to me.
The top of the stairs is where the kids would wait each Christmas morning for the Santa Clause reveal. Lined up by age, their legs tucked up close to their chest to keep them warm, their eyes hopeful for good things. Bright cheeks, anticipation.
At the top of the stairs Maggie would dress into her princess costumes, then parade downstairs, telling me to pretend it is her wedding day. “Do I look beautiful, mamma?” Yes. I would say. Yes. And she would run back up the stairs and do it all over again.
The stairs carried the feet of my son, Hayden, who would run so fast down that his legs would trip out from under him, yet somehow he always managed to find a way to stay upright. And, many times, Emma galloping like a pony, her fresh freckled face and hair in a pony-tail as accessories to her cowgirl outfit, would chase after him.
The top of the stairs is where the kids made a sleeping bag slide, complete with landing protection comprised of every pillow in the house. Its where Maggie napped until she was too big to fit, its where my dear old Gramp cussed me for not having a handrail to hold onto when he came to see the house in its new glory. Its where each piggy-back ride started, each load of laundry passed, and days of tired faces on my shoulder rested as I ascended the path.
And…the top of the stairs is where I would sit and think, and sometimes cry, carrying a burden of the weight of being a woman with days that didn’t match the dream. The stairs bearing both the junction of deep emotion and the responsibly to support my weak legs. The stairs go down. The stairs go up. But either way, the stairs have taken us where we needed to go.
We are saying goodnight to the house, to her stairs.
Tonight, away from the Six-Acres, I am writing next to a new set of stairs. I pause. And listen. And almost hear one last time Hayden and Emma in chorus calling out to me in their young voices just after I have tucked them in, “Night Mom! You’re the best mom in the whole entire wide big universe!”
I hear it in my heart. And tonight, that is enough.
Goodnight, stairs. Goodnight.