Burden St.

Eric and I tried five takes before we could find someone to capture us at the Parthenon without the construction cranes in the background. Eventually, a kind stranger found a forgiving angle, resulting in the postcard photo here at my feet.

For some reason, my history with houses is similar, always under construction and always needing forgiveness. Boxes sit in the corners of basements or  in small rooms labeled as offices. Pictures get moved from room to room until they find a mostly permanent home. But by that time, we’re moving on to someplace new.

At least, this is how it’s been since we left Burden St., Eric’s and my first home in Atlanta before we were married, the home we still inhabit like ghosts in some old love song.

We have lived in three other houses, two more like rental spaces that I was waiting to leave, and one that actually feels like a home, mostly. I even call our current home “the happy house,” but we stopped unpacking after about two months past the move-in date. And I mean stopped trying to find a place for each beloved photo and each nostalgic trinket. It’s like those moments you try to remake with someone new after your heart’s been badly broken, the ones that always fall short. Eventually, you just give up trying to bring back the magic.

The 100-year old house on Burden St. dripped with history. Beyond the porch swing and the door knocker made from a river stone, a standing brick fireplace welcomed you into the entrance/living room. I was sold on the place before looking past the foyer.

We unpacked organically, placing valued family memorabilia and favorite photographs onto ledges that seemed to be in wait for them.

The house had a breath and a heartbeat, and time almost stood still inside. Eric and I spent nights just taking in the air inside our private universe. I thought we might need to dig our feet out from the earth when we left.

They say home is where you put your hat and to bloom where you are planted. But “they” never lived on Burden St.


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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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