Daiyaan sends a short text, “Daddy, I don’t want to come home because it hurts me too much, that we are selling the house.”
I take a deep breath and sit back; when I moved into this home, I imagined retiring from this place, imagined Daiyaan’s wedding on the small patch of grass by our backyard; I had believed this as my final destination. In the next six weeks, we will be moving to a new place to live – smaller, more manageable for my new life.
I was in the pool last night– staring at the banana and coconut trees, listening to my favorite tunes – soaking in the happiness this home has given me.
A home has a lot of meaning; a lot of connections. When people move to new homes, sometimes they try to hold on, to their past, that has become the fabric of their souls. I have written in the past about Anchoring in an Uncertain Sea; as first generation immigrants, the concept of “anchoring” has a very special meaning, for many of us.
In my 45 years, this is the first home I have lived 5 years in one home; the first eighteen years of my life, with my parents in Bangladesh, we moved 6 times. In the last 18 years of family life, I have moved in-and-out of new homes, 7 times.
I bought my first home on Merrimac Road with a singular goal; to demonstrate to my family that I had finally attained “stability”: I had a job, and I was pursuing the American dream. The small three bedroom home, without central air and only one bathroom, is where I moved into with my unstable sofa and a single mattress. The night before I signed the bank papers, my mother, coincidentally was visiting me in Toledo and complained incessantly about why I had to take on such a big “responsibility”.
I started my career and family from Merrimac road; I met my future wife and made her a cup of International Coffee one evening, the first time we met. I got married and brought her home here; we bought our first new car, a dark blue Toyota Corolla. Our first child, Daiyaan came home and slept on my chest, the first night of my transition to fatherhood on a warm summer evening. There was a beautiful Dogwood tree on the front yard, which was in full bloom when Daiyaan arrived.
After 4 years of Merrimac Road, right around Daiyaan’s first birthday, we moved to our first custom-built home in Perrysburg, Ohio. Since then, we have never stayed at a house very long. Fifteen years later, I arrived in South Florida; in between, we bought and sold, four other homes in far away places like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Colorado.
The first time I stepped into our new home on Marina Drive, I felt at peace; I believed, I would retire and live in this home forever. Shania learned to swim, read and carve a pumpkin, at this home.
Daiyaan finished middle school here. We went away to Spain, Australia, Morocco and many other places from this home. But every time we went away, I felt that I could come back to this blue-green home, where I felt safe – I felt that my soul had a place to rest. The little patch of grass in the backyard, surrounded by coconut trees is where my imaginary hammock rests.
Heartbreak, success, anger, celebration, pain, glory and variety other emotions are commingled in this space which has provided with shelter and continuity during a very tranquil and subsequently, a very difficult “turning-point” in my life.
When I sit outside on the patio, listening to the sound of our inter-coastal waters, I feel peace; I feel blessed that I was given the opportunity to have this as my home for this period in my life.
With my uncertain, anxious heart, I send a text back to my daughter, “Baba, A house is just a box – it’s where people live – the people are more important than the box”.
I know by consoling her, I am consoling myself as I start the search for the next stage of my life.