The 34 Years of Goodbyes Part 1

This is an evolving story written in present tense over several weeks.

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The house we all grew up in is going to belong to someone else very soon. My mom made a heroic effort to get it on the market, and it sold in less than 2 weeks. It is a fantastic house. I’ve loved it as a home for many years. I have no idea how to say goodbye to it. Spaces are very important to me, and I believe this is in large part due to how lovely and functional this house is. It’s got the best natural light of any home I’ve been in, along with everything else current home buyers desire: large lot, large kitchen, open living/dining area, natural wood floors and trim, built in buffet and linen closet, tall ceilings, bonus rooms, grand staircase.

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I confess that the thought of not being able to run over to St. Paul to visit “Grammy” (as my toddler calls her) and plunder in the attic for home goods is a little depressing. And, oh my, was that place ever the epitome of “Grandma’s Attic”. A large steamer trunk filled with old wedding dresses and baptism gowns, old maps, cast off clothing making perfect dress–up wear, old kitchen gadgets, Christmas decorations, the 50ish year old luggage issued to my Mom from the Peace Corp that is marked to Kathmandu, Nepal(!); and a library of the art, projects and readings of 6 school kids, plus whatever my parents kept in order to have on hand. When my coffee carafe broke, I got a perfect match for my coffee pot from this attic.

I suppose I’ve been saying goodbye to the home for several years. I’ve certainly not distanced myself from it intentionally, but I have noticed since getting married and becoming a mom that the house doesn’t fit me as well as it used to. They say your body changes after childbirth. It’s like the house changed too. I don’t know how else to put it. Yes, it helped define me, but I am a different person now. I was a vivacious toddler in this home, and now I bring mine to it with completely different feelings. It doesn’t fit to be the awkward teenager, running down the stairs and stubbing my toe as I round the corner to the kitchen. (I’m clumsy in other ways, now).

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People are now “up-cycling” chandeliers like the one in the dining room. But I love it just the way it is! I don’t remember why I took this – relatively recent – photo. But it probably has something to do with the babies, and managing to hold two at once. Wait! I Remember! I wanted to capture sweet Evie interacting with her new, little-er, cousin.

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This chair is new, but it’s just like it’s predecessor in style. A chair so well-used that in about 4th grade my girls scout troop made a special visit just to sit down and see how far in they could sink. Can we say “broken springs”? I often wonder which furniture our own kids will mock.

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Mom with my baby in the living room.

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Our little sweetie on the steps. I used to grab the lace curtain and make believe it was a wedding veil as I processed down the stairs. The only trouble was that it was fixed to the wall and I wasn’t. Here, I’ll show you:

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Like this re-enactment. The flair was lost when the veil tore from the brides head as she descended the stairs. Other than that, it was just like a really classy wedding. 😉

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Our haul this past year from St. Nick. At our home. We don’t have stockings or a buffet on which to hang them, but the basic tradition lives! I wonder if my mom ever forgot to acknowledge St. Nick’s day.

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How many family photos have been taken from this angle? I’m guessing hundreds.

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This photo of various types of feet in the home reminds me of the time my sisters and I went around the house with some mirrors that were bigger than our heads. We held them like trays and looked in to them and tried to walk around. It’s pretty hard – and hilarious – because you see the ceiling, and so you step over arched doorways that aren’t in the way of your feet, and stumble over coffee tables that are in the way. Also, that Christmas tree skirt just sings Perfect Christmas Tree Skirt to me. I’m not sure another will ever measure up.

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I walk through the sun room that was my childhood bedroom (shared with 2 sisters). I remember my mom’s offer to build a window seat into it when I was an awkward pre-teen. She was trying to help me and being so kind. But I looked the gift horse in the mouth and declined. Stepping in there today, turning, finding the perfect spot for a window seat, remembering my lifelong dream to have a window seat, a dream that’s still unrealized, I apologize to the room for not letting my parents build in it a window seat. Really, I am apologizing to myself.

Now that the closing is imminent for the 3rd time, I am sneaking out of the house before my kids wake to say goodby one last time. I resolve, this time, to wait to draw out the camera until I’ve been present long enough in each area to reminisce a little, and to reflect. Maybe to pray. The Lord really surprised me this day, a Friday not long ago…

Tune in next time for the sequel of this stunning series! More home walk through ruminations, and perhaps, if there is not another cliff hanger, the final revelation/resolution. 🙂

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