Today was harder than I thought. We said our final goodbyes. The house that built me and provided love, laughter, trials, and countless memories was sold today. For the past six months, I’ve been helping my parents purge 54 years of life, getting ready for the next book in their story of life. I’m not going to lie, there were many days where the exhaustion of it all just wanted the task to be done and over with. I held no attachment, whatsoever, to this place………or so I thought.
This little cape held a piece of me that’s been buried for years. It held the security and imagination of a growing child, the pains of a teen, and the hopes and dreams of a young woman making her own way in the world.
I’ve been so concerned with how my parents were handling all of this, that I’d neglected all the feelings I’d been pushing down for months. Sitting in front of the fireplace, it all came flooding back. Memories of backyard pool parties, neighborhood games of “kick the can”, Sunday buns on “the veranda”, and wintery nights by the fire – reading, dreaming and feeling secure. Mixed memories – both bitter and sweet.
The little white house nestled on a tree-lined street (that was how the listing described it) sits across from the park entrance – a stone’s throw from the “big rock” where my husband asked me out over 43 years ago. The same park where we held hands and talked, skated on the pond, and participated in school sports together. All the little pieces of life that built me.
I’ve been gone from this house and town for close to 40 years, but it holds a familiarity that tugged at my heart to leave. As we closed the door, forever this time, it closed a door inside of me as well. This is new and I’m not quite sure what to do with it. Do I simply pack up this past and put it on a shelf, mourn it, celebrate it? This, too, is part of the dance of life I suppose.
For my parents, they, too, hold the memories of the different seasons of their life – the young parents who dreamt of how their family would grow together. The life my dad gave, with his very hands, to create the home of my mother’s dreams. My mom’s special touches, making this little house, her family’s home. As empty-nesters, there was a re-building of sorts – creating a life comfortable for just the two of them.
With every box we packed, there was an emotional string that tagged along with it. It was more than things. For them, the “things” held life. Held love. Held memories. It was a difficult process for each of us, although in many different ways.
Yes, this goodbye was hard, but as we close the cover to this book, we know the story isn’t over. We begin the next volume together…this one lived out near us. The blank page will feel strange and lonely at times but filled with new hopes and dreams for the adventure ahead. I know I’m being given a gift so many are denied. We are prepared that it won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it. By the grace and goodness of God, we embrace a new season of growth.