Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Treasured Memories AKA Grandchidren

Home...I've always loved being at home.  When I was a little girl I always wanted to spend the night with a friend, and I promised Mother that this time I would stay until morning.  I would beg her to let me go and she would sometimes give in, knowing that as soon as dark descended I would be brought back to her in tears.  I remember the emotions that started to surface as it began to get dark...the yearning for my mother and the warmth of our home and my bed. It's called homesickness for a reason!  I have to confess, and some of my childhood friends know this, I couldn't stay away from home at night until I was in the seventh grade.  I lived in Lake City, Arkansas until I married my husband and moved to North Little Rock. Two years later I began to recover from the worst case of homesickness anyone could ever imagine, and I was truly surprised that I'd survived.  I missed living in that small town where just like in the TV show Cheers, everyone knows your name. When I went back for visits and someone called me Linda Ruth, I knew I was in my hometown.  That was a long time ago, and many of those people have either passed on to Heaven or moved away. I have a few friends who still live there, but most last names I no longer recognize.
My home is currently in Virginia and has been for the last twenty-three years and seven months.  I didn't want to live in Virginia, but the military decided that for us when my husband received orders to report to Ft. Lee for a three year tour of duty.  Three short years and then we would head back to Arkansas, at least that's what we'd planned. But after living in cramped quarters on Ft. Lee for eighteen months, we began to look for a home to rent in Colonial Heights. With nothing available that would work for our family in the price point we felt comfortable with, we changed our search to a purchase. That proved to be difficult as well. After much searching, we finally bought a house we could afford and that would accommodate our family, but I told my husband it was the ugliest house on the block. We moved in and began the long journey of making that house our home.  Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.  For me, the beauty of my home isn't the paint on the walls, the furniture in the rooms or the décor that is my own personal taste.  It's the memories that have been layered one upon another during the days we've spent being sheltered in this structure of wood and brick.  The memory of the first time my granddaughters, Taylor, Emily and Bailey came for a visit and Taylor cried when she had to leave.  Or the time Taylor came and stayed two weeks, but was really, really ready to go home to Arkansas. The sleepovers.  Our grandson Todd stayed at least two or three times a week until he was about twelve, and thankfully by that time his younger brother Trey had begun staying overnight (and still does). Their sister Ashley reminded me of myself.  She wanted to sleep over, but always had to be taken home right at bedtime, which fortunately was only two blocks away. After the first time she successfully stayed all night, it was never a problem again.
We have many summertime memories in our backyard swimming pool.  The grandchildren from North Carolina always love to visit and I remember many times watching Kailey, Jeremiah, Sophia, Mackenzie, Eva, Josiah, Ruby, and Uriah, all tumbling out of their big white van with excitement and yelling our names as they ran across the yard to the front door.  I love looking through old pictures and seeing how much they've all grown.
Jackson, Reid, Emma Kate and Hudson, visited a few months ago from Arkansas (with their parents, of course) and we went to a museum where we'd visited a few years before. They'd dressed in period clothes for a photo and were delighted to find some of those same clothes still there.  So another photo was taken to compare to the first one.  More memories.
Saying goodbye to Canin and Isaac when they moved from Virginia to Missouri and then on to Colorado are memories that were painful.  But, visits back to our house with their younger brothers, Jesse and Heath have given way to good times once again.
A few years ago God blessed us with grown grandchildren, Kristen and Ryan and we have memories of their first visit to Virginia to share in this madness of our great big family.
Our beautiful grandchildren, 2013
Zealand Paul, Grandchild #25, he was still baking when this post was written!
My beautiful home is a place where meals are shared, every bedroom is full, every beach towel is wet and hanging on the fence while the grill sizzles with burgers as a serious game of corn hole is being played in the front yard. In December when winter has arrived and our home is ablaze with Christmas lights welcoming family members to celebrate our traditional Christmas dinner, we now, all these years later, no longer have the ugliest house. This house is now a home that has been transformed and has become the most treasured one on the block.  Memories...wonderful, tender, funny, happy, but also bittersweet are gifts given from above. God's richest blessings and we are thankful.

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