I look out my window and across the yard and see the house I lived in as a teenager and college student until I was married. The house my parents have lived in since my brother was six, so essentially it qualifies as the family home. The house my mother is determined to remain in until the day she dies.
Sometimes she mentions building a cabin on the farm and moving there, but she always comes back to her house. It is a house she first saw as a young girl and fell in love with. When I was 16 and we were looking for a new home, it was on the market for sale. Once my mom looked at it no other house would do. It was the first house my parents ever looked at that Mom didn’t want to move the stairs. I think that helped my Dad decide this was the house.
And so, we moved to town. When my sister, who was around nine at the time, first saw the house she thought it looked like a mansion and to a young girl coming from a small country house I’m sure it did. I was just excited that I’d have my own room and my brother would no longer have a bed in the corner of the dining room.
In this house my parents would take the downstairs room intended for the dining room and make it their room, so that the three of us could all have a room upstairs. It worked out quite nicely. Since the kitchen was basically a closet (the original owners had a restaurant, so small kitchen), the room that should have been the kitchen, was large enough to use as the dining room, we still had the living room and a small room on the back for a family room so all needs were met.
To us, it was a large house – it had an upstairs and a basement. By today’s standards it would be considered of average size. But to us the house was never average. It was in our DNA, almost like a member of the family. It was a living, breathing entity, protecting us from the outside world.
As my parents grow older I worry about all the stairs, but they seem determined to stick it out and so we’ll take it one day at a time and figure out the stairs when we need to. In the meantime, I can look across the yard and know that even though I’m in the house next door, in so many ways I have come home. I am sheltered. It is a reminder of all the life lessons I’ve learned. It is a compass to guide me. It holds my secrets. It will forever remain a member of the family.
Grace is a house,
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