|The kids on our porch swing in town....6 1/2 years ago!|
A few weeks ago I drove the kids to school in the morning and passed by the home we once lived in in town. Maybe it was the sprinkle of sunlight over the front porch that added extra charm to it that morning, but I sighed and said “there’s our old house”. At that point my daughter asked “dad, do you miss our old house?”
I hesitated to respond. It not only was our first home, but was also the only one the kids had known; we purchased it just two months after being married. There are so many memories there, not to mention that we had just finished renovating and restoring it when we decided to move into another “diamond in the rough”. The kids made a few comments the months following the move that pierced the heart, mostly “why did we have to move?” Peace of mind is a hard thing to relate to an 8 and 10 year old.
|Camping out in town|
We moved into our place in the country just over a year ago; we dubbed it Sycamore Hill. It is a Civil War-era farmstead surrounded by pastures, woods, and a creek. We’ve established a garden and orchard and the kids have scoped out places for tree houses and forts. They are begging for animals but I’m holding out on that request. The sunrises are almost always picture perfect. Being a guy born for history and the country the place simply felt like home the moment I saw it.
“Dad! Do you miss our old house?!?” That’s right, there’s that question hanging out there. “Yes. Of course I do.” I could have said no in the hope that the kids would feel like it was important to leave those things in the past and look forward. But the fact is I do miss it. I followed up my response by reminding them of all of the fun we’ve already had at our new place, which got them talking about the things they’ve experienced in the short time we’ve lived “on the Hill”.
I think about the frequency with which people move and relocate today and while maybe there isn’t the same emotional attachment, it still must be tough on everyone involved. In this mobile society where putting down roots is difficult at best, it becomes all the more important that we validate the feelings kids have when they leave maybe the only place they’ve ever known. And it’s ok to break from the tough guy image and admit that you miss seeing the place where your kids took their first steps.
There is a popular country song by Miranda Lambert entitled “The House that Built Me”. Of course any time I hear the song I think about the home we make for our kids and wonder if they’ll think about this new place with the same fondness. But we’ve all heard home is what you make it. Laughter and tears, Christmas mornings, birthday parties, baking cookies with mom, planting a garden, all of those things are what make a home, no matter how often the scenery changes.