As I run down the stairs as fast as I can, I am greeted by the lights of the Christmas tree reflecting off of the presents that Santa had brought me. I run back upstairs only to wake my mom in alarm as to what on Earth her daughter is screaming about this time. As she stumbles down the stairs, I turn on the parade and am already sitting on the floor as she reaches the last step, first present in hand.
As I make my way through the piles, my mom looks down at me smiling. Always smiling. The rest of the day is filled with Christmas movies as we stay in our pajamas, ignoring the outside world just for a day.
A simple, yet well-cherished family tradition that has taken place every year. In the same place. Although this year things will be different. And it won't be in a good or a bad way-- they will just be different.
I've lived in the same house my entire life, and it has stood through life and death and everything in between. My parents brought me home to that house and every birthday between then and now has been celebrated there.
I started preschool and graduated from high school while living in that house. I took my first steps there. But as I took my final steps out the door, I couldn't help but reflect on what that meant.
I am growing up remarkably fast, and life is changing every day. It's weird to think that my family and I live separate lives now. I don't have to ask my mom for permission to go over to a friend's house or have her tell me to clean my room before anyone steps foot in the door (don't worry mom, I still do it).
I am getting older every day, and so is everyone else. It's crazy to think that in the next 10 years I could have a house that comes to mean as much to me as my childhood home and filled with nearly as many memories
Sometimes I forget how many memories a brain can store until times like these. I have been desperately clinging onto what is left of my childhood since hearing the news, but it doesn't seem fair when I seem to have already moved on as I no longer spend most of my days there.
I grew up in a house filled with acceptance, encouragement, and love. And as much as I love my house, I know that it was not the four walls surrounding us that made it a home. From family to friends who came in and out of the front door, to the furniture being carried out, I still have what matters most.
I'll probably bring my own children around one day and show them the street corner where I scraped my knee at least once a week, or the room that my parents sent me to every time I got in trouble. A part of it will always be my house, but now someone else can make their own memories there.
And so new traditions will begin, but it won't be the end of the world. Although it may feel weird at first, I still have the same people who provide me with more love than a house could ever give. Thank you to all who make me feel at home.
With this, I say goodbye to the house that watched me grow.
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