When I recently was home for Thanksgiving, I said goodbye to my childhood home. I remember moving into our house when I was 8 years old – leaving the house we were in at that time seemed traumatic. In the grand scheme of things, that was small.
It was harder to say goodbye than I thought. I sat in the rocking chair in my old bedroom and just looked around, pictures of how my room used to look swimming through my mind. I remember my mom letting my paint my room, twice! That was a huge deal for me – being able to make the space my own. I could see my friends in my room, sitting on my bed, playing in my closet, sitting on the windowsill. I looked down the hallway out my bedroom door and pictured my mom in the kitchen making dinner, my brother at the table doing homework and my dad coming in from work – a warm feeling came into my heart. I could smell the smells and hear the sounds.
It was quite funny – funny strange – when I first walked into the house. I either saw a glimpse of black in the corner of my eye or expected to see it, but it was like I saw my little dogs at the back door (dogs that have been gone for at least 10 years). Funny what the mind will do.
Here are some memorable moments from the house that holds so many of my memories:
1. Getting struck by lightning! The whole house shook, the sound was louder than I can describe, my Nintendo started smoking and it was the brightest light I have ever seen. It was nighttime and the light from the flash of lightning lit up the whole area – I could see for miles!
2. Playing in the pool with friends. What a way to spend the summer!
3. Family dinners.
4. I remember my mom sitting my brother and I down one evening at the table to tell us that our granddad had died.
5. I remember my mom hugging and holding me when we first moved in and I had a crying spell over missing the old house.
6. The scorpions – I can picture each and every one I ever saw in that house. Oh Arizona! It took me a solid 6 months to get over the instinct to double take at small tan leaves on the street – they always resembled scorpions to me.
7. Our wedding-eve party in the backyard with all of our out of town guests.
8. Christmas mornings and Sunday dinners.
9. Taking the trash cans up and down that steep, steep driveway – it was easiest to get in the trunk of the car and hold onto the cans while one parent drove slowly up the driveway!
10. Sitting on the porch with dad – twice. Once, in 5th grade when I was crying and crying and couldn’t figure out why. He just sat there with me for hours and we watched the rain. The next day he took me on a day trip up to a nearby mountain town, just the two of us. The second time, I was in high school and in major trouble – I had completely disappointed him by lying to him and going out to party. I broke his trust and I think, his heart. Same spot on the porch.
11. Laying with the dogs in the backyard.
12. Playing cops and robbers on my bike with my brother.
13. Playing basketball after school with my brother and his friends.
14. My parents driving up the driveway with “the fourth family vehicle” (a.k.a.- a car for me to use!)
15. My parents letting my puppy in bed with me when I was 9 and had the flu.
and so many others!
It was a great home – but it really is because of what happened inside it. It feels like a chapter is closing because of the timing – the same day I said goodbye to the house I attended my 10 year high school reunion. My brother and I are grown and married. My parents are feeling like they are in their sunset years.
It’s ok – memories with our kids will be made in a new home and that house will become special for those reasons.
My favorite place to sit and think was on the diving board – dangling my feet in the water. Here I am having one final thought and moment of reflection.