On Monday morning I walked out of my house for work and I saw a family of three pointing at the windows around the house. We looked at each other, and they awkwardly started walking away. I called out, "Hi!", they returned the greeting, and stood in place to stare and point some more. It's a really strange feeling moving away from the house you've lived in for most of your life. It doesn't really seem too much like our house anymore, though, since we've been renovating it for the last few months and we've had to move all of our stuff around.
After living away at college for 4 years, I'm pretty used to packing.. but I always knew I'd come back home. I think once you leave a place you've been for so long, it doesn't really sink in that you'll never revisit it. I remember the night before I had to move out of VCU. I cried uncontrollably knowing it was all over. At some point I'll probably accidentally make a turn onto a street leading up to this old house when I move away, but I don't mind.
I'm a little bit of a hoarder, too, so I have a lot of old stuff like journals I've kept while growing up, and my old Raggedy Ann doll. I like to keep a physical copy of my memories so that I don't forget them. I'm so grateful for all of the experiences I've had while living in this house, and it makes me aware of every remaining moment I spend here with my parents and my family. It's like leaving high school. You know you can always visit, but the desire to go back eventually fades because the people have changed, and you're all of a sudden a stranger. You can't visit an old house like that... it'd be weird to knock on someone's door to tour a place you once lived in, or to show your kids where you accidentally punched a hole in the wall that one time.
It's bittersweet. I'm really excited that my parents are moving to Florida because they'll finally get to relax without the burden of their "four little brats" :) I'll miss them a lot but it means more to me that they're happy and stress-free, soaking in the much-needed Vitamin D. Hey, I guess this means a ton of trips to the beaches and a warm escape from the cold Virginia winters. I think they'll enjoy it quite a bit. Home will be a daily vacation for them.
I remember when I was younger I was kind of embarrassed because a lot of my friends and classmates lived in huge houses that had more space than their 4-person family could ever need. Imagine, though - I had heat, running water, a roof over my head, a fridge full of fresh food, clean clothes, computers, and comfortable furniture to relax in after a hard day of school. I had everything my dad worked for - from being a class clown at his school in Karachi, Pakistan, to being successful in his job, community, and family. I had all the care my mom put in - from taking jobs that would allow her to spend as much time with us as possible while we grew up, to STILL making sure we get to work on time. I'm so thankful for this home, and everything and everyone in it.. because it really isn't the roof over my head that matters as much as the nourishment that happened beneath it.
We call several places home throughout our lifetimes, and I'm so thankful to have lived here, in this house, with the crazies... my family.
|a portrait I took of my dad on the roof of the building he ran - last week of work before his retirement :)|
|my mom - waiting patiently as I take portraits of my dad at work :P|