As I looked at these pictures and thought about out how I was going to explain what each one means to me, I realized that it would be next to impossible. The truth is, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain what each little spot in and around my house means to me. I guess it’s because it’s not something that can be explained but rather, it’s a feeling. It’s the feeling I get when I walk through the door and see my Mom in the kitchen. It’s the feeling I used to get when I peeked into the family room and saw my Dad sitting in his favorite chair. It’s the feeling I get when I walk out to the backyard in preparation for a bonfire. It’s the feeling I get when I am sitting on the kitchen counter (which my mom hates!) listening to the chatter and watching the chaos of each day play out right in front of me. Among others, it’s the feeling I get standing on my front porch with the big house behind me that reminds me just how very blessed I am to have had something that is so hard to say goodbye to. It’s not the walls, or the bricks, or the wreath on the front door, it’s the memories. This house is home to so many laughs, lots of tears, an abundance of smiles and a plethora of frowns. This house is home to the memories that built me.
Ya know, I never really saw my family leaving this house. Truthfully, I don’t think any of us did. I always thought that this would be home base for my family. I dreamed of getting married and taking pictures in the backyard and I dreamed of one day bringing my own kids back to a place that brings such a feeling of love and comfort. But then again, life is unpredictable and so many things that I thought would be just aren’t. After my Dad passed away, this house became a frequent topic of discussion. Do we keep it? Do we let it go? I have the world’s most incredibly selfless Mom and she was convinced that uprooting us right after my Dad’s passing would just be too much. My Mom wanted to keep us in a place where we found comfort, a place that made us feel loved and most importantly a place that allowed us to feel close to him. My Mom held onto this house for 5 long years after losing my Dad but the reality of our situation is that it’s just too big for one person. About a month ago, my Mom officially announced that she was downsizing. I remember her crying as she said, “My heart says no but my head says yes”. It was such a hard decision for her to come to but I am so incredibly proud of her. The amount of strength within her is unexplainable. I’m quite certain that the new condo she bought is a total God send. Ironically, my Mom signed on the new condo on Mother’s Day. I say ironically because my sisters and I told her that we think it was my Dad’s Mother’s Day present from Heaven. This was his way of saying, “It’s time Shell” (my mom’s name is Shelly!). My Dad would want my mom to be happy and I think that letting go of the past will allow her to make room for great things in the future.
My middle sister and I went to the new condo with our Mom on Mother’s day to check it out. After a full tour, we all looked at each other with watery eyes. We didn’t want to like it but we did and we knew it was the one. With heavy hearts, we agreed this was it, which we knew meant letting go of the house that we all love so much. Overwhelmed with emotion I left my Mom and sister and went for a little drive through our neighborhood. I happened to see my sweet Karrie (the lady I used to babysit for and one of my very best friends) who was outside at the time. She knows me too well because when I pulled over to say hi she looked at me and said “Oh no! What’s wrong?” (Apparently I didn’t hide that I was upset super well). I replied, “I think we’re moving.” With watery eyes she said, “It’s not the house is it? It’s him.” She was referring to my Dad. Talk about a true friend. Someone who knows me better than I know myself sometimes. She was exactly right. Our house is the last tangible piece of my Dad that we have to hold onto. As tears ran down my face she grabbed my hand and said, “This is good. We’re going to do this. Together we are going to do this. Be strong.” You might wonder how I could possibly quote exactly what she said to me but I remember just perfectly because they are words that I will never ever forget. I often replay that interaction in my head because it brings me a sense of hope. We are going to do this, and I am not facing the big change on my own. Through every up and every down God has provided. He has never failed to put the right people in our path. We have the world’s most amazing neighbors and friends. Looking back at how the purchase of my Mom’s new condo all played out, it’s impossible to doubt that God exists. It’s evident that he is going to take care of us and for that I am thankful.
I think it’s true what they say, “Home is where the heart is”… or I suppose in our case, “Home is where our mom is”. I am certain that we will make new memories in my Mom’s new space. In time, it will become home. We will forever hold the house that gave my family 26 great years close to our hearts because it allowed us to live so much life. But now it’s time to move on and make new memories. Thank you to my beautiful, selfless and loving Mom for providing us with a home that we love so much. No one can ever take that away from us!
2 thoughts on “The House That Built Me”
Lovely sentiments, Anna! Good luck to you all as you begin this new chapter of your lives. A family as loving as yours will thrive in any space. Home is where the heart is or, in your case, home us where you all are.
Love to all, Michelle
Wow. The transparency! My dad built my mom’s dream home for her in Guatemala (8,000 square feet + other amenities). Then my mom died. He probably had similar feelings to you. Then he discovered that “the word was made flesh”.