Well, we’re in. Still unpacking boxes and deciding what goes where, but we’re in. And, man, does it feel weird. After 22 years in the same house, you know every creak and crack in the place. You can practically move around with your eyes closed and still get where you’re going. In the new place, I better keep my eyes open or I’ll run into walls and bump into stuff. It’s going to take some time to get my bearings.
We loved our last home. (Well, I had a love/hate relationship with it when I had to take care of the pool.) We lived in that place for more than a third of our lives and more than half of our marriage. We (that means Dayna) kept it in great. It pays to have a wife who watches a lot of HGTV. She always had some idea to make it better.
But a home is not so much about the floors and the roof and the curb appeal. A home is about what goes on inside. It’s about the memories. And do we ever have memories associated with that place. That’s the house where we celebrated high school and college graduations, the house where we celebrated the weddings of our children. That’s the only house our seven grandkids know as Papa and Grammy’s house. That’s the house where we spent 22 Christmases. That’s the house where we prayed a lot of prayers, cried a lot of tears, and laughed more times than we can count. That’s the house where our teenage kids brought their friends. That’s the house where we watched a lot of Razorback and Cowboys and Orioles games. That’s the house where we loved one cat and two dogs. That’s the house where we spent five days without power during the great post-Christmas ice storm of 2000. That’s the house where we always tried to keep Jesus at the center. It’s been a good house. It’s been our house. I think it was Miranda Lambert who sang a song about “the house that built me.” Well, this house didn’t build us, but our lives were shaped in numerous ways during our years there.
On Father’s Day weekend our whole family was together. The kids wanted to say good-bye to the house. We talked about some of our favorite memories in that house over the years. The kids took a last look at their teenage rooms. Everybody enjoyed the pool one more time. It was more emotional than I thought it would be.
But now it’s time to move on, time to get a little better arranged space to accommodate our family of 13 when they are home. It’s time to quit messing with a swimming pool loved by my wife, my kids, and my grandkids but not loved so much by me. I don’t know how long we’ll live here. I doubt it will be anywhere near 22 years. In 22 years I’ll be 82 and my wife will be 80. For all I know I’ll be dead. We’ll make some memories in this new house, but it won’t be like the house in which you raise your kids. My daughter summed it up pretty well before she left our house for the last time: “Every time I’ve come home since I left for college in 2000, I’ve always felt like I was coming to my house. Now, I’ll feel like I’m coming to my parents’ house.”
And that’s where we are now: in her parents’ house. Dayna is excited to make this house a home. And she’ll get it done for sure. I’m still a little depressed about the change. But I’ll be okay. Whether our address is Meadowmere Terrace or Blue Bell Court, as long as Dayna and Jesus are here it will be home. That’s been good enough for almost 40 years. It will be good enough till Jesus calls one of us to the home that’s really home, the home from which we will never move again.