Thursday, April 17, 2014

Moms, Houses and Memories

Do you ever have dreams of the house you grew up in?

I have. Many times.

That house is still standing in Oklahoma. I don't live in that state any longer, but I often wonder about just showing up at their door and asking to see inside. Would I be disappointed? Would anything look the way I remember it?

I discovered on Google that you can type in an address and see a house from the street view. That fascinated me and I spent a couple of hours looking at homes from my childhood that held a lot of memories for me. I was able to see my grandparents (my dad's parents) home again, which was especially meaningful since it had been in a fire and eventually torn down in the past couple of years. ( I guess that Google maps hadn't updated that one in awhile, which was a blessing to me! I couldn't seem to locate my grandma's (my mom's mother) house, but hers had been out in the country. Maybe Google doesn't go out that far.) Speaking of my grandma's house, I was thinking the other day how my aunt Pam and I used to sit on my grandma's concrete steps at night and watch the airport lights in the distance. I can still see exactly how her yard looked and how it felt to walk into her kitchen. She nearly always had a pot of pinto beans simmering away on the stove and would be kneading the dough for homemade rolls on her kitchen table. I wish I could walk in that kitchen and see her again.

My mom has always been the same way. Her grandparents home was way out in a little community called Drakestand. I would definitely have to Google that location.  I only have a general idea of how to drive there. There is still an old cemetery there where my grandmother, uncle, and great grandparents are buried. But nothing remains of the old house that is so dear to my mom's heart. As a child, I remember walking around the yard of that old house and if I remember correctly there were still parts of it standing then. But today, there is nothing there. When my mom is back there, she can still "see" the house, the yard, and her grandpa who she loved so much. There is still something tangible and special about standing where the house once stood.

Whenever I see an old home place that is falling down around itself, I feel so much sadness, especially if you can see where trees and shrubs once bloomed around the house. You can tell that it was someone's home. A mom used to look out her window and watch her children play in the yard. A husband and wife used to sit on the porch and dream about their future. But now, nothing is left but a few boards and a crumbling foundation.

Courtesy: Pinterest

A few months ago, my husband and I drove past our first home in the city we live in now. We moved into that wonderful house in 2002. It was our very first purchased home. It was like a dream moving our family of seven into that home. I loved that house so much. It was brand spanking new. I delighted in everything about it! It felt like I was living a pretend life. I had a dishwasher, a garage, a patio, a staircase, a basement...I was even excited about the sidewalks out front. I can't even begin to describe how much I appreciated and loved that house.

Our kids would have been 11 years old down to 2 at the time we moved in. We lived there for 5 wonderful years.

We drove past it slowly that night. Dave drove extra slowly so that I could see through the windows. (He's a good husband and understands this stalker side of me.ha ha) I could make out our kitchen cabinets and stairway. I thought of all the times we had walked up those stairs and that my children's feet had been little then.

Then suddenly, I had this giant lump in my throat. It felt like if I walked up to the door and went inside, I would see our children at the ages they were then. It seemed like they were just waiting for me behind the door.

Of course, they weren't. They weren't 11 years old down to 2 anymore. Now they were 22 years old down to 8!  But for a few minutes...I dreamed. It would be wonderful to see them at those ages again. My two older boys stayed the same looking for so long. They became a little taller, but their faces remained the same. It was easy for me to picture them. It seemed they should be sitting at the kitchen table together and both look up at the same time if I walked inside.

Our youngest daughter would have been only five then. She would have come running up to me with her long, long hair and a big smile to say, "You're home!"

We drove away that dark, cold night back to our current home. My family and I love the house we live in now. It was God's blessing to us. Sometimes I still pinch myself when I walk inside. It is so beautiful. But so many sweet memories were inside that very first (our very first) home.

Speaking of our current home, we have lived in this lovely place for seven years. When it was being built, I stood in the dining room area near the staircase and I could "hear" the voices of my nieces and nephews. Of course, they were a lot younger at that time. But I could almost hear them calling, "Aunt Kathy!" and running into the house at Thanksgiving time. I've always wanted this home to be special to them and to my children. And it has. I truly thank God for that and for all the memories we have made together here.

But, that night, as I walked into our own kitchen, our two boys did look up as we came inside. They were just a little older now. Our youngest daughter smiled when she saw us and said, "I'm glad your home."  She is now seventeen. I can't go back in time. I love the ages they are now, too. It's fun to see them drive and do things on their own. Time marches on, I guess. But I'm so glad to see their faces each time I walk in the door. I don't take any ordinary day for granted. You know the saying, "Life is what happens while you are making other plans." This is life right now. These days right now are the things I will think back on one day.

If you are in the middle of raising your kids, cherish every moment. I know that right now, time seems to move slowly for you. I've mentioned this before in my postings, but it won't always go as slowly as it seems to be going right now. Those young ages seem to drift along so sweetly, but suddenly, they will be a teenager. Your boys' voices will change, they will get braces, or facial hair, or your daughter will begin asking about shaving her legs and buying a bra. And then, time seems to speed up a little and you wonder how they could possibly have changed right before your eyes. It's hard being a mom at those moments.

But what a blessing to be a mom.   When your little ones remember their childhood and their home, they will especially remember YOU. You will be that memory they think of whenever they think of home. They will remember when you played with them, took care of them when they were sick, took walks with them and just doing ordinary things like making their favorite meals or desserts, and loading up the car and taking them all for ice cream. When they are a long way from home for the first time, they will think of you and all the beautiful times you have shared together. Those memories will have so much meaning to them, especially then.

Enjoy every moment. This is what life is all about...right NOW! Make good memories that your children will carry with them for the rest of their lives. If you feel that all your kids have are bad memories of your mothering, determine to start making small changes today. It isn't too late. It's only too late when it's too late. As long as you are alive and breathing, you can turn things around.

Lord, I bless each mom reading. Let each one know that she is someone her children will always cherish. If she needs to make some things right with her older children, give her the grace and ability to do that. Help her to walk it out. Bless her efforts and bring a unity and blessing upon her relationships with her children. In Jesus name - amen.

P.S. There's a whole lot that could be said about the significance of "places" to God, too. But that's for another blog!

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  1. Hi, Kathy. What a lovely, lovely post. The only thing I would add (and given your own comments I'm sure you would agree) is that your post also speaks of being a grandmother, and the indelible difference that grandparents, who also love these babies as irrationally as they loved their own, can make in a child's life. Blessings to you. ~Zuni

  2. I LOVED THIS! Thank you so much for sharing. And as an introduction to Easter, how appropriate. Rona

  3. I always love your posts. They always make me stop and appreciate my daughter, who at almost 2 occasionally makes me feel like I'm losing my mind ;) When we first bought our house as newlyweds I would look into our living room and dream about someday having that room filled with toys and kids playing. Your posts make me stop and take time to watch her and appreciate the mess, chaos, and every wonderful second!

    1. Thanks so much for writing! I really appreciate it!

  4. Oh my mind filled with so many precious memories as I read this post. Times when my children were young and homes we lived in. Thanks for such a beautiful and loving post. I hope you and your family have a very Blessed and Happy Easter. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me.

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  6. Yes. . . life is what happens while you're making other plans. What a beautiful post, Kathy!

    1. I always love seeing your name pop up in the comments. Have a great day and thanks!

  7. You dear sweet lady,
    I believe homes have a soul and it hurts mine when houses are not taken care of. I am living in my grandparents house back in my hometown after several lives in other places. Friends say,"why do you want to live in our hometown, blah!", but I said, everyone in America is in love with Country Cottages, I have one, get a new perspective! My house is nice, but a work in progress of course, but I have found simplicity is nice. Even small town America has changed in some ways, but our two little churches even though they are struggling, I think are going to have a new wave of membership from the younger generation. Community projects , such as, "preparedness", are bringing people together. Many want to use the churches as the focus for preparedness. For example, we get tornados here and church basements are available, when many people today do not have basements. Also, homeland security persons from our community and law enforcement want more preparedness. I do not want to be gloomy, but we need to be ready if our electrical grid gets shut down. If this happens all of us should have a food supply ready and be prepared to store water and have water purification tablets. I have found everytype of preparedness "how tos' on Pinterest under "survival" as my search word. Until then, be aware, do a little everyday to be prepared and go forth and decorate!!! We all need to live in cheerful places. OH yes, My grandmother had removed the Victorian front porch on our house and had replaced it with a 50's grapey wrought iron posted number. It wore out. Using old pictures, we recreated the original porch and used all the new materials that never need painting. As it turned out, we were an inspiration to others who are now working on their homes in our town. We also ripped out the overgrown shrubbery and put in an English flower garden. Best Wishes, Suzanne


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