Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The House That Built Me

Contrary to the song, if I could come in I might not leave. They say after the death of a loved one you should wait at least a year before making any other huge life changes. But my parents were already in the process of getting their house ready to put on the market when my father passed away. A process that I fought them on every step of the way. I wanted to be able to take my future kids home to MY house when we came to visit my parents. I wanted them to see what IS my room. I threatened them with my plans of starting rumors that the house had termites or was haunted by ghosts. The house that we built and had been the only occupants of. Ghosts. My parents laughed it off and insisted they wanted to downsize.

A few weeks later when my father died, my mom still planned on continuing down the path to put it on the market, despite recommendations from friends and family that she should wait it out for that obligatory year mark. I too recommended this, but was easily persuaded by her with one conversation. I had to put aside my admittedly childish distaste for the idea now. It was no longer a joke. When the head of a household dies, the remaining members usually worry about finances. And when that person had been recommending this sale, their reasoning for it resonates even more once they're gone. After all, it's what they thought was best. I didn't want my mom to have to worry. While the hassle and rush of moving it to market so fast would be stressful, I know her and I knew she would feel such a relief once it was sold.

I flew out several times in the following months to help her sift through a lifetime of stuff. Our mindset was sentimental, yet determined. We couldn't take our time, but we didn't want to toss anything of value, both in the monetary and sentimental sense. My mom, especially; she was a busy bee. Each time I returned I was both extremely impressed and overwhelmingly sad over how much she had accomplished. Sad that she had done it alone and that it had been done.

My room looks so bare and empty
When the house was put on the market it sold within a week! I wasn't surprised. It's an amazing house! But I wasn't too keen on the buyers. They weren't right for MY house. They had plans to renovate what we had already renovated. They had plans to change it from a natural, Colorado-looking vibe to shabby sheek. Don't get me wrong, I love shabby sheek, but not in Colorado. Not for my house. Plus, they had two rowdy sons and no daughters. They wouldn't take care of it. It would be trashed. But I kept my mouth shut, knowing I would always remember it as it should be. The 100+ pictures and video I took of it helped.

Why do I give you this background? In a few weeks I'm headed back to visit my mom for her birthday and Mother's Day. Something I've been looking forward to since i booked this trip in March. Yesterday, though, it dawned on me. For the past two months I've been picturing my return with that house as a part of it. Yes, I've been back home to Colorado since we sold it one year ago, but I still picture staying in MY house every time I go. I'm not looking forward to the day where my mind won't play tricks on me and I don't assume that house will be part of my Colorado vacation retreat. Just like in the days and weeks after my dad died and I would wake up forgetting what had happened, I treasure these oblivious moments too for the sense of nostalgia they provide, however fleeting.

I leave you with this amazing view!
For this IS MY house. The house that, while still in the construction phase, I was first to climb the ladder up to the second floor and, like a brat, claim the biggest room with the biggest closet. The house with my hand prints cemented in the redrock-tinted back patio. The house with the screws in the family room walls, left there and used as a way to secure our Christmas trees after my brother fell into it one year, knocking it over and shattering almost all of the ornaments on the opposite side of the tree. I'm the one who wore down the carpet in my bedroom through years of dancing alone in my room to N'Sync, Britney Spears, and the Spice Girls. (Bless my parents for never once coming into my room while I was dancing, even though the music was blaring, I was singing obnoxiously off key, and there was no lock on the door.) Only we can tell you why you'll find three metal holes in a triangular shape in the backyard (they're for the posts that hold our hammock - three so that you can change the angle with the suns movement of course). This is OUR house with the obligatory height wall carving out our measurements. Carved because we had to paint the wall at one point and we didn't want to lose the valuable info, so we made it even more permanent. (After it had been started, my dad realized this height wall should be done on a door, or a long piece of paper that can be brought with you to the next place.) These new people will struggle without our help as they try to use the remote control in the steam room of the basement. They may never know just how refreshing the attic fan can be on a mid-summers night. Instead, I'm sure they'll turn on the A/C like boring people used to modern amenities.

Clearly I don't have high expectations for them. But let them try and figure everything out. Maybe in 20 years they will. For now, it's just proof that I still OWN that house!

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