Back Home Again
I have remained quiet about a major move coming up in our lives because in so many ways it has felt too good to be true. However, the movers are called, the title company meeting is set, and our kids now know what’s happening so I think it’s time to let the cat out of the bag.
We are moving to my childhood home. It’s an incredibly special home; not only did I grow up there but my mom did as well. Her parents purchased the home when she was only eight years old. When my mom was 32 years old, her parents died suddenly in a plane crash. As the oldest child, she inherited the home. I was born three years later.
It’s amazing to think that Josie, Grace and Rowan will be the fourth generation in my family living in the home, especially in California where multi-generational homes are few and far between.
The home itself is a peaceful oasis and an ideal place to grow up.
I’m confident that in no time Graham will pick a large oak tree to construct a treehouse for the kids. We had one growing up that my dad built for us. Sadly, the oak that held our childhood treehouse became sick and was cut down last year. It felt a bit devastating to see just the stump of the tree that provided so many memories. But in a way, it’s perfect timing because that allows the opportunity for us to find our own tree for our own family and thereby making the home ours. Perhaps it was a gift from one son-in-law who took over the house to the next.
Over Thanksgiving, my mom’s brother told Graham and I how when my parents moved into the home, my dad was adamant to make changes in order to create a home that was truly his and my mom’s, not my grandparents. In writing this, I can see the stump of the oak as a symbolic passing from my childhood to my children’s. They get to pick their own tree, find their own special places and create their own memories independent of mine. And so often, we live life through the eyes of our children.
While some things from my childhood will go, others will always remain to keep the stories and traditions that are vital to me, the house and my family history alive.
Last weekend, Graham and his mom pruned the roses in the rose garden out in the rain. And while that is a memory they will cherish, it reminded me of my dad who put so much care and energy into those roses. On Sundays when the family worked in the yard, he would take us kids around the roses and teach us how to care for them in a meticulous and delicate way. They were clearly his babies. He would also share with us, how much my mom’s dad loved the roses. It was a tidbit of information about grandparents (whom I never knew) that I held onto. It’s beautiful to think of Graham picking up the shears not only in honor of my father but my grandfather as well.
Thinking of roses brings to mind our wedding day which was held at home; the tables and my bouquet were all filled to the absolute brim with austin roses. The home was in some of the best shape of its life as my parents carefully worked with our landscape designer, scrutinizing every last flower.
Graham and I had an epic first dance on our wedding day, if I do say so myself, to INXS “Never Tear Us Apart.” We boogied as free as can be on the badminton court. The very spot that I used to go lay my shivering body against after a dip in the cold pool growing up, as the court would heat up dramatically by the sun. The very spot my mom and her siblings would challenge each other to game after game. And the very spot where our girls love to drive their bikes round and round.
My personal family’s memories will be made there as the others will begin to fade for me but what’s so beautiful is the entanglement of all of them. If these walls could talk, the stories they would tell. And with any luck, Graham and I will proudly pass the house down to the next generation when the time comes for a new chapter.
I am forever thankful to my mom, a hero of mine, and to my brothers, who I will always look up to, for giving us the opportunity to live in this house. We will honor the home’s past but also forge our own path to make it new to us. And I will continue to document the stories, when the need to write overcomes me, here on this little, intentionally tiny, corner of the internet. Thank you for reading!
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