Garbarino Acres: Year One


If you don’t already know the story of how we came to own the 106 Farmhouse, it’s a story filled with tears, lots of money, and an elderly couple sleeping on the floor in the entrance of a house.

It’s a messy story.

Nothing could have prepared me for how difficult it would be to become the owners of 106.

So much drama led up to the actual move that I wondered if I would be able to wash it all away once I arrived. Or would this house remain theirs? Would I continue to feel like an impostor, someone who unfairly thieved this house from an unsuspecting couple? Only time would tell.

As we settled in for our first night of sleep, one year ago today, the vision of ragged people sleeping on carpets vanished, the septic tank problems evaporated, the aching from the brutal two day move lifted, the accusations and threats dissipated… everything bad vanished from my consciousness.

We snuggled under the blankets, boxes surrounding us, and I saw the moon through the window. I tried to erase the image of the old man charging at me at the height of this whole drama, I tried to ignore the casual Bitch that they threw around.  In what would be the darkest, most expansive sleep of my life,  I wiped those memories away and allowed myself to take up as much space as I needed.

I slept the type of sleep you can only experience once you have arrived somewhere you’ve traveled far to be.

I woke up to the sunrise and it was as though I had lived here forever. This was no longer their house. The word on the road is that the energy shifted here when we moved in. It became the type of house that made passers-by happy, not sad for the lack of love, not ashamed of the debris piled up in front of the bar, but happy at the lights constantly on and happy about the paper dolls stuck in the windows.

Loved. The house felt loved.

I’m guessing that the 800$ we spent on industrial cleaners helped. Immensely. But notwithstanding, they claim (more than one person!!) that something shifted when we arrived.

Magically, the furniture that we had cramped into 842 sq ft, fit perfectly in the two story house.  We unpacked slowly, a lot of you gals came to help. And we fell in awe, in genuine awe of this place.  The year unfolded, the springtime came, the peonies bloomed. We made some friends, the kids went to camp. The garden got tilled, the renovation got started, nothing like it should, everything as it was. Summer saw bounty and flowers, and crowns and tears. And I crashed down hard at the end of it.

We have this story about ourselves that permeates our mind.  To say mine is developed and layered is an understatement. This house and this life is so intertwined in mine that it’s hard to differentiate the real from the narrative.

Each idea that starts with Should?  I know enough to know that it’s not real.

But because this house and land is something I’ve ached for (literally for years) it’s hard to accept it as it is and not as it Should.

The year has not been “easy”, by any stretch of the imagination. It has been a year of transition, a year that has forced me to invest in myself. To really work, at first at changing myself, but only to fall hard and realize that I had nothing to change.

The work I’m here to do is not to fix myself,  but to accept myself.

I realized somewhere during an excruciating series of 3 push ups, with Foo Fighter’s The Best of You blaring in my ear buds, that I’d spent my young adulthood numbing the best away, I’d lived my motherhood giving my best away and my career selling my best away.

What was left aftwerwards… those crumbs and sandwhich crusts? That’s what I gave myself.

And with that instant, I found myself at 5h30am…  my arm in a cast, my knees buckling in the midst of my 2nd push up, with stupid Dave Grohl going on and on about The Best in my ear buds. My eyes welled up with tears and I realized that unless I give myself the Best, then the stuff that everyone else was getting, that stuff was no good.

I was going to start giving myself the full sandwich, and once I had that, then I could see what everyone else needed of me.


And today?

I can do 8 push ups.




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