Friday, May 7, 2010

The House That Built Me

my fiance, a couple of close friends, and myself are looking to move out together soon. one of the possibilities is my old childhood home.

it's strange to call it my "childhood" home because as children, my brother and i moved a lot. never drastically, it was 98 percent in the same city. we never changed schools, just addresses.

when i left that house, it was full of emotions. it was hard to be there, and it was hard not to be there. we'd had wonderful years in that house. my brother married the girl across the street from the big yellow house with the boat in front. we made and lost friends in the neighborhood. that house became the place our friends were always welcome, where many bomb threat days at narbonne were spent baking cookies instead of baking ourselves out on the football field. we filmed mockumentaries there. it was where i remember sitting with my friend manny at my dining room table, constructing a biome for enviro-sci and discussing religion and faith. there are hamsters buried in the backyard, and the lights are still strung up in the backyard from my high school graduation party.

my stepdad spent a year fighting cancer and the after effects of the treatment in the master bedroom, with our loyal cat barnaby by his side. that was the year i learned about accepting help from people. my sister in law's mom would leave homemade enchiladas and a marie callendar's pie for us on the porch, and her dad would come over and mow the lawn without telling us. other neighbors would leave notes or cards on the door, or come to ask how we were doing and if we needed help.

after i left, i didn't go back in for another couple of years or so due to renters who probably would have had a problem with me just waltzing in. not that i really wanted to. so much had happened, emotionally and physically, in that house that i just wanted to leave behind and forget. but you know, you can't really ever do that.

space is a funny thing, because going back into the house to look at it as a potential resident brought back some unexpected things. i didn't feel sad, or mad. i felt the energy of all the good times in that house. i felt happiness from parties and family gatherings, and from nights out in the backyard grilling. i felt excitement for prom and for my mom's wedding that we held in the backyard. i felt the closeness of thanksgivings, my entire huge bickering family all lined up for one peaceful meal that lasted all of fifteen minutes.

to see the house empty is a shame, because it has the potential to be such a place of love and togetherness. so even if we don't become the next tenants, i hope that whoever it is can understand the value of the house that built me. (thanks, miranda lambert, for the song.)

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