I sit here on a quiet morning, legs curled beneath me, laptop resting on my thighs nestled on the love seat. Across from me is my husband, book in hand, with our youngest cuddled close with the dog on his lap. This moment gives me contentment and happiness in the joy of the family I have built.
This house has become a home. It is more than a shelter from the elements and chaos of the outside world. It is an oasis of love where both comfort and joy live. There are shelves of curated books – poetry and historical fiction for me, crime fiction and thrillers for my husband, business for both of us, children’s books, and my collection of autographed first editions. We also have three bibles – an impressive family bible from my husband, my middle son’s confirmation gift bible, and my journaling bible.
We have art – fine, commercial, and homemade. My favorite homemade sign says, “In this kitchen we dance,” which a friend made for us because she found it endearing that we dance with friends at happy hours and had once revealed we embrace and sway at quite intimate moments in the hearth of the home.
Our family is growing and changing. Our older teen is in his bedroom at the end of the upstairs hallway. And further away our oldest is turning his own house into a home about two hours from us. I already miss my sons as young children with toys and sippy cups scattered around the house. These days, there are sports bottles and backpacks taking up space. Fishing poles, bows, and hunting totes round out the things I will outgrow.
There is a five-year plan my husband and I talk about. This plan sensibly includes ideas of downsizing, selling our house. This isn’t the first house we owned and it won’t be the last. With our next chapter, the empty next, approaching in the distance, I find myself thoughtfully looking at our material objects considering if they are keepers or something I can live without in a smaller more practical space. As it turns out, there is very little I need. My great grandparents quilt will travel will me to another home with a few other sentimental or otherwise valuable items.
I am sentimental, if that isn’t obvious from my posts, but I can let go of the objects that no longer serve their purpose. The bedrooms will be empty. The rec rooms free from gathered children.
I could be that person who holds onto the family home for the nostalgia of having raised a family here. I could hold onto those artifacts from passing childhoods. Save the space for holidays with grandchildren that may come.
The current plan is to let it go. To move on. To recognize house is just that; the magic of home is the view from inside. The bread broke and shared together. The cozy moments curled up with books or notebooks. The idle time watching television. The frenzy of preparations for the little things – school days and day job, and the big things – weddings, funerals, and holidays.
The memories of the home will be my husband teaching each of the boys how to tie a tie, the children working hard on homework or other pursuits, the meals prepared and shared. Home is not always as idyllic as this description, but this is home at its essence. The house, I have to accept is temporary.
A favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert, uses “onward” a lot in her creed for living well. I have to agree, onward indeed. But not just yet, there are still more memories to be made in this home.