Six years of memories. I’ll just need one last look at the yard, at the tree I’d planted, at the landscaping I’d done, at the small place in the corner of the yard where the grass grows a little richer because that’s where we’d buried the cat. Inside the house, I’ll revisit the kitchen I’d remodeled, listen to the sounds of the creaking floorboards, and take a glimpse once more of our first child’s room we’d worked so hard to make his own. And climbing into the truck to haul away everything we consider ours, I’ll watch the house grow smaller in the side mirror until I turn the corner, and it will be gone.
As the season has changed and the trees have begun to glow with red and orange fire in the light of the autumn sun, it’s become apparent that not just six years have passed, but a portion of my life filled with bittersweet memories. It seems as though the more recent years were the sweet ones, though, as I’d grown so much closer to my wife, and it was in those years that we’d welcomed two beautiful boys into our family. At the new house, we’ll have a lot of work, but each busy moment will add time towards years spent in our new home.
These thoughts have made me realize that a house is just a feature of our family. It’s certainly part of us, and we make it ever more so the longer we live in it. We grow to love it, become comfortable in it, make it look and smell and feel like our home. We fill it with treasures, with special things, with fond memories.
My sons will spend their days there growing into young men. They’ll be fascinated by bugs. They’ll catch or kill them and present them to their mom as both a discovery and a gift. She’ll shriek in panic. The boys will rub the insect between their fingers, getting the icky goo stained on their skin, and probably wipe it on their clothes. Or they’ll hold it loosely, and it’ll leap out of their small hands to find refuge in some small dark place hidden from curious eyes. And then she’ll make them wash their hands, and she’ll make me catch it and set it outside preferably unharmed.
But we’ll always remember these things. That’s part of what home is – the memories of how we grew together, grew to love each other, grew to know life and experience joy, pain, laughter, tears. Growing together in such a way that our roots are beyond untangling and fed from the same soil; and our trunks intertwine, our branches sway together in the wind, our leaves make each other appear ever greener. When it ends, when autumn comes and our leaves change and fall, and winter rules our bodies, the real home was the memorial that we made together, four lives grown side by side such that no man can separate them. That will never change. That’s home.