This Spring has been a pretty big time for my parents (and me too in a way). My dad retired from his job of over 30 years at the end of April and my mom retired from her job of well over 20 years in mid May. M and I traveled to my hometown to celebrate my dad's retirement about a month ago. It was so special to celebrate my dad. It was a once in a lifetime feeling to hear and read such wonderful things about a man you love so much and to actually get to be there with them. Many girls don't get to hear such special things about their dads until they die and people tell them such things at a funeral. Well, my dad is alive and well and we got to celebrate him with him! It was a special gift to be there.
We were also doing something else.
We were saying goodbye.
We said goodbye to the schools I attended, which are actually all connected because remember, I am from a small town. Grandma Kathy's library was the climax of our tour. We even got to go to story time.
We said goodbye to the parks I loved to play in. We lived in a small town with awesome parks thanks to my dad's hard work and vision.
We said goodbye to friends and neighbors. M loved our playtime with my childhood neighbor and her sweet sons and her lovely dog. M thought the dog was a cat until we got back to my parents. He was raving about how much he liked "Penny the cat." Too funny!
And there was one more BIG thing we did.
We said goodbye to my childhood home.
Since leaving home 15 (nope not a typo) FIFTEEN years ago, I have lived in four dorm rooms, one "girls house," two apartments, one town house, and now one parsonage. I have lived in four states. Due to adoption clearances I can even print you a sheet that has ever address of the above dwellings on it... I digress. Anyway, during my nine moves my parents have continued to live in the same home. Such a comfort in a changing world to escape to a place that felt like it didn't change.
It was all pretty emotional!
My final day there I walked through my parents house. I started my walk through alone while my parents were still home. I walked through the rooms in the basement and cried and cried thinking about all the memories contained in the rooms. I noticed the smells that have been there my whole life. Will they remain even after my parents leave? Will the smells travel with my parents to their new home? Oh the tears.
My mom left for work and we began to load the van. Dad was on day one of his retirement so he said he would ride with us to say goodbye to all the parks. Sadly he got an ambulance call (he is an EMT) before we could make the drive together.
M and I decided to say all of our house goodbyes and then make a drive through town and leave from there. The upstairs goodbyes where brutal and beautiful all in one. While holding M, I went to each room of the house and thanked God for all the memories that came to mind in that room. I thanked God for the family member who once slept in the room and spent time praying for them. It was so beautiful and so special to leave the house in an attitude to deep thankfulness. I was amazed at the ways that my mom made the house into a home. As I prayed and thanked God it was evident that her work and words spoken and hugs given were memories in almost every room.
After the inside tour was over and I walked out into the garage and "playhouse" I was ready to go. I took one last picture of my childhood home before driving away, a parting shot.
I then made a loop past all the parks, schools, church, water park etc on my way out of town. M was very ready to be done saying goodbye by the time we left town.
This week my parents officially closed on their home and moved their final truck load of things to their new home. Even though my goodbyes were a month ago, I found myself calling them every single day in the end. I wanted to live the end of this chapter with them. It was healing for me to do this... though maybe annoying for them. This is funny, but I grieve the loss of their good old landline phone number... the one I memorized when I was M's age. I just felt like I couldn't call it enough in the end.
While it is less than two hours from my hometown, I am not sure when I will get to that little sleepy community again. I am excited for them to begin adventures in their new community. I am excited for them to be close to Bret and his family and a bit closer to my dad's mom. I am excited about new parks to explore and new memories to make. I am excited to see if it will smell like "home" when I walk in the door.
So thankful for over three decades of memories in one small town and excited to have decades of memories in another.
So blessed to be making special memories with an incredible family. (We did take lots of pictures, but uploading them isn't going to happen tonight so I will add them to a photo post soon and link it HERE when I do.)
No I can't forget where is I come from...