I am participating in Where I Lived Wednesday over at Ann’s blog today.
There are lots of really cool writing prompts that bloggers participate in on a weekly basis.
Normally, I am just an armchair participant.
Reading some amazing stories from writers much more vivid and deep than myself.
It wasn’t until I had seen last week mention of an upcoming prompt that I wanted to participate in.
But it wasn’t just the prompt that set me in motion, it was the timing of me seeing it.
Where I Lived Wednesday.
|where we hunted for eggs|
Last week, I was alerted that a house that had a special place in our heart was up for sale.
|where papa got help opening boxes|
At first, my husband and I were so excited!
Let’s take the girls through the house!
We ran numbers in our head, did the math, HARD math and talked about plans like how the girls wouldn’t even have to change schools and how we would re-decorate the kitchen!
But before we go further, let me give you the history.
|where watering the plants was full of unabashed glee|
Briar Ridge is where my parents built a little ranch house on a beautiful reed-filled marsh.
It was to be their “forever home”.
They had settled for several homes over the previous nine years, rented a house that they didn’t love and worked hard to get to a better place.
When in 1996 they found this amazing little neighborhood where they could build their forever home and paid a little extra for the beautiful marsh behind it, it was a dream come true for them.
It was their fairy tale house.
It wasn’t a massive palace but rather an adorable and quaint one-story cottage type home.
It was perfect.
|where, apparently, Hawaiian shirts were all the rage|
This home welcomed lots of beginnings.
It had a front row seat to my brother and his new fiancee dating.
It hosted many Super Bowl Sunday’s, baby showers, Sunday dinners and Christmas ornament parties.
|where we took the picture in front of the house next door|
It served as the backdrop to my brother and his groomsmen getting ready for his wedding.
It was where my parents held the party to celebrate my brother graduating from college.
It was the home where my parents celebrated the birth of their first grandchild.
|where naps could last all day. until your arms were numb|
It was given love in the form of a beautifully finished basement that my brother and dad worked diligently on.
It was made to shine as they built by hand a massive deck that spanned the entire length of the house to show off that beautiful northern Illinois wetland behind it.
It was polished with every paint job my mother lovingly applied, the stencils that she placed in my grandmothers room (whom my mom cared for until she could no longer), the curtains hung with care, the picket fence my dad worked on in the front yard, the beautiful butterfly garden my mom tended to every spring and summer.
|where building a deck is a family affair|
This house was loved.
This house also saw pain.
It watched as we said goodbye to relatives, friends, and others in our lives who meant so much.
|where I felt comfort in a very uncomforting time in my life|
It was as a 32-year old that I moved into this home.
I moved in as a wife and mother of a two-year-old.
It was three months later that I was living as a single mom in this home.
This home became my home in 2002.
|where Mamie got help in her garden|
It was within these four walls that I learned to become an independent woman while surrounded by three adults who loved me unconditionally.
It wasn’t always easy but there was always love.
For without the love of my mom, dad and grandmother in that little house on Briar Ridge, I would not have gotten through it all.
|where family would gather|
I was never lonely in this home.
I never felt vulnerable in this home.
I felt respected, lifted up and embraced in this home.
This home and all its occupants watched as I grew up in a way even I didn’t think I could.
It watched me become a single mom, take on a job and get a college degree.
It was there for late night Taco Bell runs with my mom.
For lots of tear-filled nights when my daughter would go to her dad’s for the weekend.
It was there for my daughter to read, color and snuggle with her Mamie and Papa while laying in their “marshmallow bed”.
For amazing conversations while listening to music that when I listen to it now, takes me back to Briar Ridge all over again.
|where you find a haven for postpartum depression|
It was in the driveway where my now husband and I had our first kiss.
It was at the foot of my mama’s bed that we would have long talks about life, love, and hurt.
It was at the table in the kitchen where I found out that my parents were being transferred four hours away.
It was in the lower level of this home where my daughter and I shared a bed even though she had a perfectly adorable bedroom upstairs because we just wanted to be together each night.
It is on the deck of this house where many stories were told, many dreams were whispered, lots of laughs were had.
|where my husband learned how to be a father figure|
Years have passed, my parents now live 11 hours away in a beautiful home.
My brother and his wife live 8 hours away and have a son, my nephew.
My gramma has since gone to Heaven but lived to be 102 years young.
The husband and I are going on eight years of marriage, almost 12 years from that first kiss in that driveway on Briar Ridge.
My little two-year-old is now almost 14, a beautiful strong teenager.
And she has a sister now, a precocious but amazingly loving six-year-old.
We live two minutes up the road from Briar Ridge.
I have timed it.
I have driven by that house probably thousands of times since 2005 when my parents sold their forever home.
I still get tears in my eyes, I still get a lump in my throat and I still miss that damn house.
With every bit of my being.
|where dogs wear birthday hats|
We had the chance to see it again in person with a realtor last week.
But I couldn’t make myself go.
I told my husband that the past is just that, the past.
If I go in, it will be too much emotion for me to handle.
We are making a life here in this home, for our children.
And I know that someday we will have amazing memories of this house.
So strong and real that you can reach out and touch them.
|where my daughter’s school career began|
Because the house on Briar Ridge isn’t a home anymore.
Not to us.
It stopped being home in 2005.
When the people who filled it with such love, moved out of it.
And I wouldn’t dare to replace those memories.