At every milestone in life, someone will say something about “starting a new chapter”. Moving into teenage years, middle school, high school, college. Changing homes growing up. Moving away once you think you’re grown up. Getting married. Having children. THEM growing up and moving out. And they all ARE the start of something new and different. And sometimes two or more coincide. That’s where I find myself now.
We – my sweet husband, my sister, and my brother-in-love, have just spent about two weeks cleaning out my parents’ home. (Let me just put a HUGE plug in for those two men right here! Neither of us has been married very long, and these two have gone WAY above and beyond what should have been expected of them. Without their rock solid-ness and ability to pull us both off the ledge, I do not know how Sandi and I would have handled Mother’s illness, death, or any of the aftereffects.) After Mother went to live with Jesus, Daddy stayed with us, so we knew the house needed to be cleared out . For almost two years. But who WANTS to do that? We piddled a time or two, moved a few of Daddy’s things to our home, the grandkids all got a few little items here and there. But the vast majority was still sitting there, pretty much like it was the day we moved them up with us.
So Sandi and I stood in their living room, feeling completely overwhelmed, and said “one room at a time”. And that’s what we did. We made the thrift store one happy place! Mother worked for the Council on Domestic Violence for many years. This particular store supports that, so all of her clothing and accessories went there. Mother had REALLY good taste! J There were mountains of other items donated different places and several loads for the dump. My parents did not throw away a box – EVER!! We’ve teased Daddy mercilessly about that, and he whole heartedly admits it! We laughed over some things – why in the WORLD did they keep THAT! And cried over others – like the hat boxes filled with probably every card my parents had ever given one another. We even found the cards MOTHER’S parents had given one another! After a 5-day marathon, I admit to being teary-eyed (ok, flat out crying) as Paul pulled out of their driveway and I watched what was left of 50+ years of my parents’ lives drive away in a U-Haul truck.
In my very first post I talked about my ties to and love for Fayetteville and Fayette County. Here’s the New Chapter part – my parents no longer live there. Daddy still owns the house – we are renting it out. But he doesn’t live there. So going home truly is OUR home. Before, I had a home and my Mother and Daddy had Home (even if it was a house I never lived in). That was my grounding. No matter what, I could always go Home. Honestly, I think maybe I’m finally having to grow up!
Before Jimmy and I got married, we bought a house. It’s an awesome place and we love it! It is just perfect for what we needed – God knew what we’d need and when, and provided for that in a miraculous way! And we’ve worked hard to make it our home. It’s comfy and warm and, I think, friendly. I, and I think “we”, could not be more content and happy with it. But there is something a little strange about knowing there is no other Home anymore. I did not realize how profoundly important having that second “base” was to me until now. I know that I am sentimental and sappy, and that many of you have gone through this same thing and are probably thinking “get over it”! And I will. But just like starting a new chapter in a book can sometimes through you for a bit of a loop until you settle in again, I’m a little off balance.
Here is what I do know: first, I have a husband who loves me and holds me up when I can’t stand on my own; second, my Daddy is with us and cared for and doing well; third, that warm, fuzzy feeling I get when I cross the county line into Fayette County will most likely never go away – and I hope it doesn’t; and mentioned last, but of the utmost importance – this is not my home. My God has a place for me that will far surpass anything I could hope for or imagine!
It may take me a minute to get comfortable with this new chapter. Different doesn’t mean worse, it just means different. I will hold on to my memories, embrace the different, and move forward until it’s time to really go HOME!