It's getting close. The house is almost ours. We've been squatting here for a few months now. We moved in late winter as a kind of win-win thing for my mom and for us. We got to enjoy the large family room and space and she was relieved of care taking and worry. And it was an opportunity to live here before we officially bought it from her, a kind of test run.
But now we are within weeks of actually owning this house. When we first decided we would buy it my gramma was still alive, although we knew her time was short. She always seemed to insist that someone in the family should buy the house when she passed. And in God's good timing, the gift fell to us. We told her that when she was gone, we would live here. Although she was largely confused in those days, I think it made her peaceful.
After her funeral, family was in town and we all ended up here, in the family room. Dark outside the family room in the cold November night our faces reflected in the lights of the windows. The furniture and wall hangings still hers, my grandma's. Her scent still in the air. So very familiar, this being here in the dark evening with warm lamps in the corners. Hot tea for every one, as it has always been. A time to visit before people headed back home, a time for they who do not live here to walk through the rooms and touch the walls. To look at the graduation pictures of the grand children in the hallway. To hear the floors squeak and remember, remember, remember. Everyone knew we were going to buy it and they were happy for us. Happy that the house was not going away from us. Happy that we would enjoy it. Happy that gramma and grampa would be happy. I felt then that I was the keeper of this house. I told them that I would change very little. Robby told me to make it my own. That they were fine, time could move on for them.
That was in November and we intended to move in after the sale was complete. Mac moved in to take care of the place but moved back with us after a few weeks. Lonely. bored. Missed the computer.
In March, we felt it was time for us to visit our new home. We moved a bit at a time. Just enough for tonight and then this week and then a month and then here we were. My mom had the bedrooms painted because they needed some plaster repair anyway and we picked the paint colors. Taupe in the front room. Pistachio green in our room. Step one, that room is definitely no longer gramma's. She'd hate it.
We sat in the L-shaped furniture arrangement and thought about it. And moved it. Step two, the family room furniture was entirely changed. Dean bought a new television. Step three, gramma's family room has a giant plasma television.
I was cleaning one day and dusting around the edges of her wall hangings and thinking for the first time about what I would hang instead. In other words, somewhere along the line I start replacing theirs with ours. Then I reached up and took the picture from the wall. And another. And another. And all the pictures in the kitchen and family room came down. Step four. My mom took the blue plates off of the living room wall, step five.
Last week my sister took my gramma's blue Queen Ann couch from the living room. We moved in our brown sofa and love seat and chair. And today, Sunday September 14, I sat in the living room alone while the Mr. and Daboyz watched football in the family room and read a few pages of a book. Then I fell asleep for about an hour.
Step six. The living room did it. I never spent much time there, it was mostly used for my gramma when she wanted to watch a different show than my grampa. It was formal and elegant, like her. Then it was spartan and disorganized while we used it as a sorting space. Then it became mine. Comfortable to me. Different, nothing to reflect what it had been except the reflections in my heart. Over-sized heavy furniture. Pictures of the family everywhere. A lamp made from a coffee grinder that I found in my Grandma Trent's basement. It doesn't look the same. It doesn't feel the same. A Sunday afternoon nap with a dog on the couch happened in my house.
It was the first change I didn't worry about making and meeting with my mom's or the family's approval. I didn't feel that I'd wiped away their fingerprints. I just moved in heart completely.
Step six. This is my home.
They were always so happy when I walked through the door. I know that they sit at the feet of Jesus now. But today, I think my grampa said, "Welcome home honey."
As of October 29, 2008, we are "officially" home.