Houston Is (Almost) Over

17 May

This post was originally written May 10, although it wasn’t published for another week.

My time in Houston is almost over. While I’ve been living in Lewisville officially since November, I return to the Bayou City this week to move the rest of my stuff there into storage and help my brother move into an apartment.  The house we shared since June 2008 will be empty by Friday night.

Aidan got one more visit to the house in March during her Spring Break. She’s spent very little time there since she started school last August, but her attachments to specific things run deep. When I mentioned her uncle’s upcoming move, she expressed concern about the computer she uses to play her games, and the cable channel (Nick Jr.) she watches a lot when she’s there. She also wanted to make sure I wasn’t throwing away (or giving away) her toys.

Listening to her reactions to the move reminded me that we’re always present and absent in different places. When I leave Lewisville this week to go to Houston, I will be absent here for a few days but present there. My life here will continue without me, but I will certainly miss spending time with Aidan, taking her to school, packing her lunch, walking her dog, etc.

For the last several months while I’ve been in North Texas, my life in Houston continued despite my absence there. Many of my clothes still occupied a closet.  Tapes from my work in radio, TV news, producing and acting filled multiple shelves.  A poster of the Subway Series of 2000 adorned a wall in the living room.  Memories of happy times and sad times lingered as well.

The most profoundly sad time was the loss of our beloved dog Emma. Our sweet and cheerful Thai Ridgeback was taken from the yard in July 2009 while I was in Florida for work. Despite making every effort to find her, she never came home. We can only hope that someone kind and loving has her now.

It’s also the house we lived in during Hurricane Ike. Thankfully, the house sustained no damage even th0ugh two trees on the property came down. We weren’t home to see that happen because we were staying with a good friend in another part of town.

On a happier note, it’s also the place my brother, Aidan and I watched countless movies and TV shows, including the Monsters vs Aliens Halloween special. Thanks to permanently saving it on DVR, we not only watched it when it debuted in October 2009, but we also watched it well into 2010. It was like Halloween was always a current event when Aidan was at the house, even in the midst of the hottest weather that  Texas offers.

I started transitioning to life away from the house last summer, spending the bulk of my time in Lewisville to be close to Aidan. When she started school, I became a long-term guest at my ex-wife’s apartment before moving into a place of my own in November. But that meant trying to balance life in two places, which frankly I wasn’t doing effectively.

Soon the ongoing absence there will be over. I won’t feel divided. But even as I move forward, the connection to Houston will remain strong. My brother will still be there. I’ll return for work whenever an opportunity comes up. And most importantly, it will always be the birthplace of my daughter, a place she will feel attached to for the rest of her life. I imagine returning to Houston with Aidan once she’s all grown up and taking her to the places she saw and experienced as a child.

We could make it a long weekend and visit St. Luke’s Hospital, watch an Astros game and go to the zoo. Here’s hoping Katz’s Deli is still open when we make that trip. That’s the first restaurant we brought her to as a baby, and it would be a special stop in 2027 when she’s 22.

“Two cheesecake shakes, please.”

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