As a kid, you grow up in one (or in my case two) homes. Your home is your safe space accompanied by thousands of memories. Your driveway holds memories of you learning to ride a bike, and driving for the first time. Your living room reminds you of the countless movie nights you had, along with watching Jeopardy at exactly 7 p.m. every night. The kitchen has lingering scents of the many birthday dinners where your mom made your favorite meal. The dining room reminds you of the rundown on everyone's days during dinner each night. The stairs are a constant reminder of how every time you got home late your parents would know because the seventh step always creaked on the left side. Your bedroom is the epitome of you, the one thing that always changed with you. Your childhood home is filled with irreplaceable memories.
Flash forward. You are sitting on the floor of your room. Your entire life is packed into duffle bags and gray plastic totes. Your bed is in a moving truck, your books and clothes packed into boxes. You look at the scratched paint at the top of the stairs and you remember the gate that resided there through many young kids. You leave your bedroom and see the empty living room. The carpet has divots in it from the legs of the couch that sat there for 9 years. The walls of the kitchen are faded in the places where the sun hit it every afternoon. Your front door has scratches on it from the dog you had as a kid -- scratching it so she would be let inside. These imperfections became your comfort zone, each scratch had a memory or story attached to it.
As you shut the back of the moving truck you realize this is it. You walk through the empty rooms one last time. Each "last time" in the house reminds you of your first time. Your heart feels heavy with sadness, knowing that you won't ever see the walls that are filled with memories of your entire life. You hear the front door slam shut, and the lock click one last time. You look back at the house and long to be back inside your room again. It is hard to mentally comprehend the fact that you are leaving. It feels surreal, almost like a strange dream. Backing out of the driveway one last time, you reminisce about the first time you ever did.
The next day is a blur. You move so many things that you don't think about the fact that you no longer are in your home. It isn't until you sit down on your bed, in a room that isn't yours (but technically is), that you realize this is your new house. This foreign place is your place. You look at the wall and wonder where the dent in the trim came from. You question where your bookshelf goes. When you wake up in the middle of the night you're extremely confused as to where you are. You slowly adapt to this new house, each day it feels a little more like home.
Eventually the house you once called "home" will be a distant memory. You will always miss it, and you will forever feel connected to it. When you drive by it, you will question why they painted the front door an ugly yellow. Or why their Christmas decorations aren't in the "right" spaces. The home itself housed years of memories, but you also own those memories. You can reminisce on them from pictures and stories, not just from seeing the dents and walls.
Thank you to my childhood home for being the best place to grow up in, and for being so hard to leave.