Well, I just had to come back one last time.
And Ma'am, I know, you don't know me from Adam,
But these hand prints on the front steps are mine.
Up those stairs, in that little back bedroom,
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar.
And I bet you didn't know, under that live oak,
My favorite dog is buried in the yard.
I love this song by Miranda Lambert. I also cry every time I hear it…EVERY. TIME.
My mom is currently moving out of “the house that built me” and packing up over 40 years of memories. I’m a bit surprised at how emotional I feel about this. I haven’t lived there since 1993, but I still consider it my home. My dad and a couple of grad students from Virginia Tech built the house themselves. Back then it was considered a pretty cool house. The architecture is very unique. There were features to the house unusual to other houses; a master light switch board in my parents’ bedroom where they could turn on or off all the lights in the house, an intercom system throughout the house where we could talk to each other without screaming, a “phone booth” that housed the “kids phone” in the hallway outside our bedrooms, and lots of “modern” technology that was innovative for the time.
I thought if I could touch this place or feel It,
This brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could just come in, I swear I'll leave
Won't take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me.
We moved into this house when I was about 5 years old. I still remember that first Christmas. The downstairs was not finished (in fact we had no stairs going downstairs…can you say safety hazard!) so all six of us spent the night upstairs for many weeks. We had a tiny Christmas tree my mom sat on a card table in the kitchen. We made a path through all the boxes and piles of furniture, which led to a small sofa where all of us would watch the one TV in the house. There were not even door handles on the doors to the outside.
Mama cut out pictures of houses for years,
From "Better Homes and Garden" magazine.
Plans were drawn and concrete poured
And nail by nail and board by board,
Daddy gave life to mama's dream
From that first Christmas on, the house started to build me. So much time with neighborhood kids playing outside and running from one house to another. Holidays, birthdays, sleepovers, getting ready for school dances, and watching TV with boyfriends. Sneaking in and out of those famous sliding glass doors throughout the house, sharing a room with my little sister and wishing my older brother and sister would just let me in their rooms! Tuesday night was always bridge night and we would sit downstairs and listen to my mom and her friends talk and laugh while the dads played poker at another neighbor’s house. There were plenty of memories of our family dog, Bigelow, a constant companion to all of us for close to 15 years in that house. And then recollections that shaped me in a deeper way…I spent the night there the night before my wedding. I remember sitting on the bed in my bedroom writing my parents a letter and feeling sentimental as I started my own life in my own home. After I was married, we had a terrible ice storm. No one had power. My parents were out of town, but my siblings and I all met at their house and huddled up together around a fire in their fireplace and talked, played games and I felt so blessed to have them. This is also the house my father died in, teaching me so many lessons about loss and love. I’ve retreated to this house many times when the demands of being a wife and mother became too great. Each time I would go there, it would be the calm I needed during a chaotic time and the peace I needed when I was beginning not to like who I was becoming. It was healing.
You leave home, you move on
And you do the best you can.
I got lost in this whole world
And forgot who I am.
The years in that house shaped me in ways I could never articulate. And there have been periods of my life when I have felt lost, and being in the house and neighborhood I grew up in, always seemed to help me find myself. Although it is extremely bittersweet to say goodbye, I deeply believe the closing of one door is the opening of another. I’m very excited for my mom’s new adventure and it is definitely time for her to have closure to that part of her life. I know we will make new and equally wonderful memories in her new home. As I say goodbye to the house that built me, my focus turns to my own home that I am raising my own children in. I hope their memories in our home will be as abundant, meaningful, and joyful as mine are, and no matter how far they go, they always find their way back…to the house that built them.
Goodbye 234 Craig Drive…thanks for the memories!