You know you’ve now made it harder for us to leave Sioux Falls in the future!
My sister Ellen laughed in response as we said goodbye at the airport and she headed back to Colorado following her week-long visit to Sioux Falls. Ellen is especially gifted when it comes to house projects, gardening and simply getting things done.
Over the course of a few weeks I had stumbled through eight different tries and a couple phone consults with my other sister, Emily, before finally choosing a paint color for our bedroom, and our giant weed-bed outside had left me paralyzed. And then Ellen came out, and within a week our bedroom was painted (including all the trim and doors) and sported a new chair and rugs, the weed-bed was cleared, plants were chosen and planted, and the rest of our landscape was tidied up and in order with a maintenance plan in place. And we managed to squeeze in visits to the Falls, the Butterfly Pavilion, and our favorite middle eastern restaurant, Sanaa’s. Like I said, Ellen is an activator.
Visible transformation is immensely gratifying; I’m always a sucker for before and after pictures. Yet one afternoon, as I sat back and watched Pippa “helping” Ellen dig out yet another tangle of carrot-sized roots (blasted broadleaf weeds!!!), I realized the memories we were making together in the dirt that week will be ones I’ll struggle to leave behind should we ever move from Sioux Falls. So many simple joys and conversations shared in clearing out knee-high weeds and replacing them with a swirling mix of vegetables, strawberries, Colorado blue columbine, a Pikes Peak penstemon, a blue hydrangea, and various other perennials. An old, one-eyed rabbit Ellen named Bunny Pete also kept Pippa entertained as he seems to have staked out our backyard as his retirement settlement.
Deep down I hope that one day we will move back to Colorado. But in the meantime, I guess I also want to do all we can to make it feel hard to one day leave Sioux Falls. Turning our new house into our home feels like a start.