Ben and I spent an hour or so digging through a cupboard at my parents' house for Ben's old journal. I poked through boxes of my favorite childhood books, papers I wrote in college, my old sticker book, a handful of stuffed animals, paintings Ben and I made each other while dating, my journal from kindergarten, dolls, wedding notes and plans, photos and letters from high school. And for a few minutes we are 16 again, pink-faced in the snow on a winter retreat, in flannel shirts, running around Washington in easy familiarity, in early love --
Back downstairs, I hear Ben at the piano picking out songs like he used to, and my thoughts are drenched with so many comings and goings, summers in this house and late nights, the friends who still fill and empty it. A daughter on the rug smiling and flapping her arms calls me back to the room and to the task of packing. In the morning we'll leave this house again, not for college but for home, Ben and I and these two children we call our own.