A year ago I was busy with Christmas party preparations for the photo club, of which I am a member. I had volunteered at the monthly meeting to have the party at my home and was in a mad frenzy of shopping and decorating and having the time of my life. On the night of the party my house was glowing. The fire was lit, everything was sparkling clean, the table was loaded with good things to eat and there was the added warmth of friends gathered to celebrate the holidays with laughter and good cheer and good food.
Granted not everything was perfect. I was kind of worried about what people would think of the couch the dog had torn up on his first day at our house and the smelly carpet that I couldn't seem to keep the cat off of. But nobody seemed to notice, or at least if they did they were kind enough not to mention it. That's another thing I am thankful for, good friends. I have many sterling friends, good people. The kind of good people that stop by for coffee, or lunch, or just to say hello and spend a few minutes chatting. But that's another blog post for another day.
When I think about my house, as I sit in this tiny apartment, it's that evening that my mind returns to. My heart was full. My house was warm. Lots of laughter.
I did a lot of complaining the eight + years I lived there. I don't know how many times I told myself I should just give up and stop trying to "make a purse out of a pig's ear." I complained about the dryer that beeped incessantly and worked inefficiently, despite the fact that it was only a year old. I complained daily about the dishwasher, which was falling apart. I complained about the dust in my 100 year old house, the slanted floors, the moving walls.
I talked about running away from there a couple of years ago, when it was 40 degrees in my kitchen and the fridge broke down during an ice storm. I complained about the carpet. I hated that carpet.
Then came the talk of moving and all of a sudden I realized how remiss I had been to complain. Because despite all of these things, this house was still home. This was where my children had done the majority of their growing up. Christmases tripping down the stairs, Easters in the backyard hunting eggs. First days of school on the porch for pictures. All my memories are wrapped up in the unsquared walls of that house.
I close my eyes and I can see the sunlight reflecting in the hallway through the glass in the front door. I see the shadows of the wrought iron stair rail on the wall in the middle of the night, cast from the night light on the landing above. I hear in my mind the tinkle of the 100 year old glass chandelier as the front door slams when one of the kids runs outside to play with a friend. To go to school. To go to work. To graduate. To leave home for college.
I left my home reluctantly yet willingly for an undetermined amount of time. God willing I will return someday and I will never take it for granted again.