Growth Spurts: This Old House
My family and I are moving. It’s a local move but a move nonetheless. So we are in the midst of throwing away, giving away, packing up, and cleaning up. It is a lot of work, and I have to confess that I do not fully enjoy the process.
For one thing, it’s hard for me to comprehend all the changes and updates we need to make in order to present our house as “sellable.” Admittedly, I take things about my home very personally. I don’t necessarily think that my decor is “too much”; I think the kids’ rooms should look like kids actually live in them; and I think that all the little scrapes and bumps and such give the house character. After all, there’s most likely a great story behind each one of them. The Partridges have lived in this house for seven years, and it has been well-loved. Why wouldn’t someone want to buy it?! It’s full of wonderful memories!
I guess it’s because those memories are ours, not some future resident’s. We can overlook the scars, because we’re used to them, but a newcomer would rather we paint over them. I guess that’s fair. I’ll probably hope for the same courtesy from whoever sells us our next house.
Isn’t it interesting how attached we can get to walls and floors and paint? Our homes really have so much to do with our family’s memories (whether good or bad). I can remember how sad I was when my parents moved from the house that I spent so many years in. I was already married and living in my own house, but I had such a sense of loss when they moved. The same happened when my grandmother sold her house. That one was actually harder for me, because she was moving in with my aunt, which meant that I could never again go to my grandmother’s house, as I had done throughout my entire life. I truly mourned it.
Homes create memories for us. Even though we take all the people and the stuff with us when we move, those rooms that we leave behind contain something mysterious and special. They have served as a stage for precious moments; have offered comfort and security; and have housed both the making and keeping of many traditions. This is why so many beloved television shows ended their series with the families looking longingly back at their living room before the lights go dim. Or why any chance I have to drive by one of my old houses, I most certainly will do it. And I’ll just sit there and remember.
I have to be careful here, because it would be all too easy to get immersed in sentimentality, as I have accused my father of doing over the years. I have to remind myself that in each new house, my family and I have made a home with new memories. And we will do so again this time.
For those of us who have moved, are moving, or intend to move in the future (That’s everybody, right?), I think the perspective we need to keep ever before us is this: Relish the memories we made in the old house (and appreciate the walls and floors that accommodated them), but look forward with anticipation to the memories we will make in the new house (and appreciate the walls and floors that will accommodate them). After all, memories far outlast bricks and mortar. In fact, we should probably focus more of our attention on family improvement than on home improvement.
What if our walls really could speak? Would they have good things to say about the time we spent together as a family in our home?
[This is the part where we all look longingly at our living rooms.]