Wait. I've been out of college 14 years?! Well that just ruined my day.
Only 2 houses out of all those others count though. Just two. I'm sitting on the front porch of one right now. And I've written to you from the other. On a certain veranda my Daddy loved.
These two houses were where my families were created. Both the immediate and extended. And I'm about to lose them both.
Houses. Not families.
My siblings just panicked.
I'll go with panicked.
My husband and I decided to put our house on the market after 7 wonderful years of living in it. We bought it just before we married. We came home to this house the day after our wedding and from our honeymoon. We spent all our firsts here. We brought the boys home from the hospital here.
I'll admit I'm a pretty sentimental person. The very thought of not waking up on Holland Drive brings me to tears. I love it so much. So many memories.
I learned to cook in this kitchen. There have been some spectacular dishes created in there. And some abominable disasters. I started my company in one of the front bedrooms. We've had some epic - and I don't use that term lightly - EPIC parties at this house.
And there's a certain spot on the living room floor where the varnish is nearly rubbed off the wood. That's the spot where I met with God during our journey through infertility. There have been some mighty, mighty "Come to Jesus" moments in that 3x3 section of heart of pine. If I could cut that wood out and take it with me I would. Like a prayer rug.
I will miss that spot the most. I fell in love with Jesus there.
But there is another house, too, where my larger family was built. And it's 4 hours south of here. On a street most people struggle to pronounce. Rubideaux Lane.
We moved into that house in 1992, just before my parents were married. We're The Brady Bunch of this generation. I won't bore you with the details. Just know it's complicated. And we love it that way.
On Rubideaux Lane, we melded together like steel. Unbreakable. For life.
It would be pointless to try and remember all the memories we created together in that house. They're immeasurable. But they are so sweet. Closing the door and walking across the bridge for the last time will be nearly impossible. It may take me a while. My fingers may need to be pried from the balustrade. Hunger strike, anyone?
My youngest little brother gave us all a framed photograph of the house and wrote on the back of the frame, "Where it all began...". And he's right. We all had other homes and other family dynamics before Rubideaux. But none were this. This one stuck. This is our family. And that is our house.
But it will become someone else's house soon. Both of these will. And it is my fervent prayer that these two houses will go on and do what they have proven to do best - build families.
It's the greatest gift a house can give. And I am a blessed woman to have received it twice.