THIS OLD HOUSE OF OURS
We live in an ordinary house in the suburbs. It is a two story, four bedroom, two bath, 1900 sq. foot house that does not particularly stand out from its neighbors. But, inside it is warmly filled with treasured memories and for us, it is home. For that, we are thankful.
When we moved in almost 30 years ago, the kids were young. The neighbors had kids of a similar age and everyone played together in the cul-de-sac with joy filled abandon. There was noisy laughter and occasional tears as the three cats and the two dogs joined in the fun. As a neighborhood, we watched out for each other, for the kids, and for the pets. Yes, even the occasional pet pig. There were sleepovers, tents in the backyard, birthday parties, and large holiday gatherings. And, the house expanded its walls and made enough room for it all.
The years passed and the kids grew into adults and went off to college and to various other pursuits. The walls of the house shrunk comfortably around us. One bedroom became an office and another, a guest room. It was now rather quiet in the house and in the cul-de-sac.
Oh, there were times when graduation parties and wedding receptions filled the house and the cul-de-sac to overflowing. And, the house stretched back out its walls and laughed in delight at the commotion. Yet, when everyone went home, the house settled back around us with a sigh of contentment.
Various people came in and out to visit. Family and friends started calling the house a “bed and breakfast.” We did not mind, it was always grand to hear voices resounding with joy and laughter ringing again within the walls of the house.
Some guests stayed for a long while. First, an aunt who had lost her husband to cancer came to live in the guest bedroom. The house tenderly expanded its walls to embrace her. Then, along came a friend who was walking a tough road and needed a place for a time out. A son came home for a year off between college and grad school. Another son came home to recuperate after an alarming rollover accident. Our daughter would visit from out of state with new friends to introduce them to the wonders of our corner of the world. And, the house giggled with pleasure to find the “kids” dwelling under its roof once more.
Grandchildren were born. The house shifted to become a refuge for babies and toddlers. And, the walls expanded when they all came to visit with luggage and diapers and baby items. The backyard expanded also to accommodate plastic slides and dirt filled wagons and kiddie sized pools. It was enough, even when some had to sleep on blow up mattresses and the dining table groaned under the weight of the enormous amount of food it took to feed them all. And, the house stretched out its walls to hold close all those who came.
There have been times when the kitchen seemed small and outdated, when the paint began to peel, and the roof began to leak. We asked ourselves, do we keep repairing and repairing? We saw friends moving upward into larger, more modern homes, and we would ponder. Home prices were escalating, should we sell? Yet, this is our home, this is where our memories have been made, this is a neighborhood where the neighbors know and care for each other, this is the place where family and friends gather. Nothing shiny and new could replicate such things.
My mother lives with us now. She can no longer navigate the stairs and needs all sorts of extras to maintain her life in a dignified fashion. And, the house has shifted and changed to accommodate those needs. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren come to hear stories of days past, to learn from her wisdom, and to be hugged over and over again. And, the house and our neighbors gently tend to her when we go out to work or to manage the business of life.
Throughout all these years, the house has expanded its walls with every change and has met every challenge encountered. It has provided us with shelter through sunny days and stormy nights. It has seen laughter and tears, glorious joys and gut wrenching sorrows. It has borne out a philosophy adopted years ago when we seemed to continually be on the move, that any house can become a home with love, a positive attitude, and a little effort.
And so, we have made the decision that we will live in this old house of ours until we can no longer climb the creaking steps or we are called home to glory. We are extraordinarily thankful to our Lord and Savior that He has afforded us the privilege of living in this amazing place. As we gathered with family and friends this Thanksgiving season we said with the apostle Paul, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gifts.”
By ~ Deborah K. McDade ©2018