November 13, 2013
A house is never just a house.
It's the place where we make memories, live our childhoods in and they mark chapters of life lived. Home is where our stories begin. It is in the homes of our friends and our families that we form the deepest relationships, where we share meals around the dining room table. It's where we do life, where we cry and wipe out exhausted on the couch from a long day of work or parenthood or both. It's our resting place, our haven. Home - having a home, making a home, building a home - has always been important to me. And perhaps it is for that reason I get so attached to them.
There have been a few houses I've had to let go of in the past. My own childhood home after my parent's divorce. My Grammy's most favorite house with huge front and back yards that I had dreamed of having my wedding at. And I almost said goodbye to my own when we thought we were moving to North Dakota - and I'm sure there will come a day when we leave here and I will weep like a baby.
But these homes, these places I don't want to let go of, are the homes that contained life and laughter and sweet times that my childlike heart will never forget. It's the memories I am always so desperate to cling to. I want to remember the good.
Sunday, I said goodbye to my Gramma's house. She has lived there for 41 years. Longer than I've been alive, it's the only home I've ever known her to be in. I can remember 30 years worth of Christmas Eve's, bubbling pots of spaghetti cooking on her stove and the distinct way Great Grandma would answer the old rotary dial phone on the wall. I can remember sliding down her hallway in my socks and admiring her collection of porcelain glass dolls. The trees in her front yard had some of the biggest leaves I've ever seen and made the best piles for jumping. I have childhood memories of picking up pecans and cracking them around her kitchen table. Of making molasses cookies and covered in flour while we listened to Gramma tell stories.
I lived an entire season of my own life there too. My early twenties when I was single, struggling with depression, with secrets, with addictions. It was a hard season of my life for me, yet a necessary one too. I grew up in that house - no so much as a child, but my woman started to grow there. I went through a difficult journey of my faith with God. I still remember the words spoken to Him in darkness out of anger. And later out of my desperate need for Him.
I moved out of Gramma's house when I got married.
But of course, her house, her home, my home, my Gramma - they are all precious to me.
Gramma is entering her own new season of life where it means she lives with her son and his family since her body and health require more dependence and need for others. They found a lovely home and I couldn't be more thrilled. Yet saying goodbye to the house, to the place she lived for so long is bittersweet.
My Great-Grandmother died there. It was the last place I saw my mother alive. I suppose in some ways leaving the house behind feels like losing parts of them all over again.
But I suppose that's how it is with any season. A death and a new life experienced at every turn.
I am left only holding memories of the past. Pieces of my story. Pieces of my heart.