17 years ago, my mom let me throw a Halloween party. We had recently moved to a new house and I had began going to a new school. She thought it might be a good way for me to make new friends.
My mom goes all out for parties. Always has and probably always will. Her and my dad made graveyards, zombie brides and set up a tent where my cousin played a fortune teller. It was my first real memory at this house. And holy crap, was it an awesome one. I remember running around that yard having the time of my life. All the worries of being the new kid disappeared. Life was simply good.
7 years later I moved away and went to college. But those 7 years were filled with so many more incredible parties, getting my first period, first boyfriends, first heartbreaks, getting my driver’s license, teenage me arguing with my parents, summers by the pool, Christmas mornings, saying goodbye to old pets and bringing home new ones, and more memories than I can ever remember, though I wish I could remember them all.
After I went to college and pretty much all the way up until I married Austin, I came back home to that house almost every weekend. No matter where I was living, whether it be 40 minutes away or 2.5 hours away, or how badly I hated driving in the snow, I would come back. I was a homebody like that. I loved being with my family (still do) and I loved spending time in that house.
During these weekends home, that’s when I grew especially close to my sister. She’s 6 years younger than me, so it wasn’t really until I went off to college that we began to grow a mega strong bond. Those weekend memories with her have got to be some of my most favorite. I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard and so much any other time in my life. These will probably be the memories I miss the most. Driving home early from college on Friday afternoons just so I can surprise my sister and pick her up from school. Long Christmas breaks snowed in being ridiculous on Photobooth. Or late night movie watching, though she almost always fell asleep on the couch and it would just be my mom and I who made it until 2am. Again, life was simply good.
Then I met Austin and eventually, about a year before we got married, we moved back to my hometown into our own place. The weekend trips home may have stopped then, but visits to that house only became more frequent. Being in the same town meant I could go over there whenever I wanted, and I did… a lot.
My sister eventually left for college and that house felt a little less like home. Extended family moved away and holiday family get togethers became a little less full. My parents went to Florida over the winter earlier this year and for a few weeks, there was no reason for my sister or I to visit home.
It’s been 18 years and it’s time for a new chapter for all of us. My parents are downsizing and looking forward to having less work and more relaxation. My sister is graduating college next year. And Austin, Lucy and I just became a family of 3.
Having to close that chapter and say goodbye still doesn’t feel real, but every now and then it sinks in and I get this pit in my stomach. I just keep telling myself that home is where my family is. Those memories I have from that house won’t stay there, I get to take them with me. And again, life is and will still simply be good.