Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Little White House

I am in the 47th Season of my life and so far, it's a doozy.

Not as stressful, painful, and life-altering as Seasons 22 and 23. Not as damaging, soul-crushing, and emotional as Season 46. 

Still. Sometimes I think my writer is throwing stuff at the wall just to see what sticks, and frankly? It's pretty exhausting. I get it God, I'm one of your strongest soldiers, but sometimes these weapons are prospering against me. Just a little bit.

It's weird.

I'm 47 which means I'm a fully grown woman. I am married and I own a home. I have children (who are TWENTY-FIVE YEARS OLD GOOD GOD HOW DID THAT HAPPEN) and a very sweet, very cute, very needy dog. I have a responsible job, a decent vehicle, and food in my pantry. I can't live without coffee and I have a passport which allows me to go wherever I want to go. I've done all the things that I always believed would make me into an adult, and yet? I still feel like a kid sometimes.

When I lost my brother last year, I felt like an orphan. I felt completely alone in the world. I felt like there was no one, anywhere, who could understand the depth of this loss. I felt like a little girl, yearning for her big brother. I kept expecting him to show back up and tell me he was kidding, that it was all a joke. A grown-up game of hide-and-seek and I promise I won't even tell on you because I'm so happy you are still here. To be perfectly honest, sometimes I still expect him to walk through my door. I'm told this is part of grief. I think it might be part of hope. Either way, I'm grown and I know it's not real. Even grown-ups like to pretend sometimes.

 This year, in my 47th season, my parents sold their home and are moving away and it's...harder for me than I want it to be. 

I did not grow up in this home. To be fair, the home I grew up in is also on the market right now, looks totally different than it did when I lived there, and I have some real complex feelings about that too, but that's beside the point right now. It was not my childhood home, or even my teenage years home. I did live there for a little while, after Jonathan and Megan were born. When I was alone and scared and needed help to get through the first sleepless, aching, terrible times.  Seasons 22 and 23 were there, and while it was a very difficult time for me financially, mentally, and emotionally (and probably physically to be real, having a baby or babies is a tax on a woman's body that I think we don't really adequately discuss), it was also a time that included a lot of joy.  A lot of laughter, a lot of baby milestones. My brother and my niece lived there part of that time, and our children got to form bonds that they otherwise would not have.  Which was lovely and which I probably did not appreciate enough at the time.


That's the trouble with memories, I suppose. You don't know you are making them.


And memories? Oh, I have them.

Playing Apples to Apples with all the kids. Blasting "I always have to steal my kisses from you" and The Harlem shake and dancing like a lunatic with my nieces and nephews. My brother, my crazy, hilarious, sweet brother doing cannonballs into the pool every Summer. He taught all the kids to swim. My dad in his recliner, rocking every single grandchild at some point or another. Poppaw has the best lap for napping. Having the family together for meals, putting the leaf in the table so we'd have enough room. Sparklers on the 4th of July. The painting in the bathroom and how that became our best family joke. All my mom's decorations, for all the holidays. 

There are hard memories too, and I know those matter. 

 Some of those moments within those walls are burned into my soul forever. I will never forget how it felt to sit in my parents living room and make a call to the funeral home about my brother. I will forever remember bringing the urn with my brothers ashes to my parents home and placing it on their mantle. As long as I live I  will never, ever be able to get past the look of absolute horror and dread and grief on my parents faces the day my brother died. I walked through their door and collapsed into my moms arms and I'm still not sure which one of us held the other up. It was the worst day of any of our lives and my parents, my  parents who did everything they could and tried so hard and have wonderful good hearts, had to bear the brunt of that pain. I don't know how they survived. Sometimes I don't know how any of us did.

Who I am as a person was either forged or solidified inside that home. 

I am not sure how to let that go.


My brother, the epitome of who he  was, is in that home too. The absolute best and the absolute worst memories of him. 

That's the harder part to let go.

It goes though. It all goes. 


I am thankful my parents are still here and so strong. I am thankful for their healing, however and whenever it comes. My greatest desire is that the rest of their lives are as happy as they can possibly be. I know that distance is not stronger than love. I know that good things come again. I know that the first part of growing feels like breaking. I know not all positive changes feel positive in the beginning. 


People are not houses. 

No one can take my memories from me.

Still. I will miss that little white house and all the beauty and pain within it. 


Anonymous said...

I feel so much of the things you do even at 66 I feel like a kid needing answers, and I love coffee, grieve for the home I grew up in and the memories made there...once again your words have made me more thankful for my people/my family.

Anonymous said...


Mae Wagner said...

My friend, this is so very moving. Also in my 47th season and keep wondering when I'll feel like it...