Home Local Voices Transition, Work & Motherhood: Saying Goodbye To A Houseful Of Memories

Transition, Work & Motherhood: Saying Goodbye To A Houseful Of Memories

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Photo: Sydney Chaney Thomas

Ed: Sydney Chaney Thomas is a Moraga-based writer and businesswoman with three books to her name, all currently available on Amazon. She is also co-founder of a sustainable sailing apparel company called Ocean SF, and operates a nonprofit that works to reduce plastic waste called the The Trident Project.

Sydney teaches entrepreneurial marketing at UC Berkeley in their International Diploma Program and, in addition to this column, she writes a popular lifestyle blog, which can be found at sydneychaneythomas.com.

Transition, Work & Motherhood
Moraga, Calif. 
September 15, 2018

Tomorrow our house goes on the market. This is the home I poured by heart and soul into for eighteen years. We bought it when I was just six weeks pregnant with Siena and Paris was one. The original owner had lived here for thirty years and raised her four children here as well.

The house has always had its own personality. Beautiful, warm and elegant. In the winter there are separate furnaces that heat the rooms on each level before the coffee is made. In summer, the trees and creek side location keep the rooms cool. When the kids were little they would walk home after school with their friends and I would often have a dozen kids in my pool. In those days, I had a second refrigerator dedicated solely to drinks, popsicles, and ice cream sandwiches.

When the girls became teenagers, the five bedrooms came in handy. With many places to sleep I often wake up with five or six house guests who have stayed over night.

A neighbor left me a message today calling the house a monument. From the day we moved in the neighborhood had an opinion about the house from the color paint we chose to the way we decorated for Christmas.

My late husband decided to paint the house brown. I have no idea why I agreed to this, but I did. When the paint went up the neighbors didn’t like it. We painted over it within days returning it to the original creamy vanilla. We painted the front door five different colors, but after much discussion returned it to black.

The first year we lived here I was told I needed two Christmas trees as the previous owner had one in each bay window for thirty years. Many of my neighbors grew up here, and I heard this so many times, I finally acquiesced and it became a tradition in our family.

My father was military, so I grew up in Europe, Boston, Chicago, and Washington DC. Then, my parents retired to a horse ranch in Oregon. I went to Oregon State and lived in London before moving to San Francisco. I had never had the kind of roots that I’ve given my children. It has been my fondest hope and dream that they would have lifelong friendships and the stability of a home and family steeped in tradition.

Today, my sorority sister Susan was here. She’s been a part of my life since I was eighteen years old. She too recently dismantled her family home. We sat in my kitchen talking about being mothers and wives and what the future holds for us.

Soon, I’ll be moving on to my next chapter, but I am grateful for the time I’ve had here. I’ve loved our beautiful house, and our kind and loving neighbors, and the many traditions we together hold dear. To say it’s been wonderful would be an understatement. I’m excited for the next family who lives here and gets to enjoy it. I only hope they have two Christmas trees.

Love and blessings to all.

Sydney Chaney Thomas

7 COMMENTS

  1. You’re not leaving the area are you? Everyone is leaving the area. My bestie packed up and moved to Texas. Wears a cowboy hat now and everything. Tell us you’re not leaving.

  2. Hold onto the memories, and enjoy Sweet Home Alabama. Or Sweet Home Oregon. However the song goes! Lamorinda will miss you, and you’re only a state away…

  3. Yes. I have found myself in this place. It is not a good place — but you will get past it. Good luck wherever you end up. And the others are right, a fresh start can be good too.

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