This 4th of July weekend, my family is throwing a going away party for my parents. After almost 4 decades they are saying goodbye to my childhood home. I grew up on an acreage in Northeast Nebraska south of a little town called Meadow Grove. In the middle of what we liked to call BFE. I don’t even get cell service there. Enough said. As a young girl, it was magical. I played outside with my imagination and siblings. We had so much freedom. Summers consisted of lazy hot days, running thru pivots, and hard work. I loved it. I was lulled by the twinkling of lightning bugs, the hum of locusts, and the sweet smell of corn fields. Winters were huddled in tight from the snow, the walls keeping us safe in our little cocoon. Sledding, snow fort building, and a wood burning stove. Bliss.
The older I got the less I loved it. I was unable to participate in the activities my friends did and hardly ever did my town friends come over. It was far away from town and even further away from the mall. There was always work to be done. Grass to cut, garden to weed, wood to chop, chickens to butcher. (Yes we killed our own chickens). I remember in high school there was a time my parents considered moving closer to town. I wanted them to move so badly. Now, I am glad they never did. I chose the farthest in-state University a whole 2 ½ hours away. I couldn’t wait to get out. Yet, when the stress of life and growing up became too much, I drove towards home. Letting the rolling hills and familiar surroundings ease the tightening pain on my chest. I could breathe again. I was home. The older I get the more I yearn for home. Now, I get to bring my boys there to experience the magic I feel. My sons love their Nana and Papa’s house.
As I say goodbye to this 100-plus-year-old house, I realize it is just that. A house. Walls, beams, windows, a roof. It is two people that turned it in to a home. This house reflects the life and family my parents created together. The love and sacrifice they had for each other and their children. This home thrived because of them. So did I. My mom and dad fill the rooms with love, laughter, and faith. Loud voices and slightly vulgar jokes can be heard. It’s chaotic, load, and crowded yet peaceful. I am always welcomed with open arms here. I feel the most comfortable being me. No matter what I have done or have said, forgiveness is always granted. I will hold these memories and how they made me feel close to my heart.
Life is changing. I will no longer drive down the gravel road. I will miss seeing my mom’s garden bloom and flourish. I will miss walking into the house and seeing the familiar. It makes me sad. I know that the time I have with my parents is now on a downhill slope. They are getting older. I am getting older. The neighborhood is changing. People are moving. The goodbyes are happening more often. The time getting together with family is less and less. Mostly getting together for weddings and soon more funerals. One of the things I have learned as I age is that time goes by so fast. Can it slow down? Just stop. Please.
My parents will make a new home for themselves; my siblings and I will always be welcomed. One where the love, laughter, and food will overflow. It will be different. But the people are the same. And my home. The house where I will always refer to as home is going to a young family. I am happy it is. A family that wants their children to have the same magic as I did. The little boy or girl will lay their head in same room where I slept. They will build secret forts in the trees and a little hideout under the stairs. I hope they love this house and its surroundings as much as I did. I pray they find peace, love, and acceptance within these walls. When they see the markings on the door frame where my mom marked our growth, I hope they ask their mom to do it too. So when they are adults, they can run the hand over the notches and their hearts will swell with love.
I will miss you house. Thank you for giving me 33 wonderful years to call you home.
I love you. Goodbye.