2009 Thornton Court
How do you say good bye to a home you have loved for 43 years? A home you nurtured, adored, explored? This house on Thornton Court embraced me from the moment I first walked into it. Over time it revealed its secrets, its history, its hidden treasures. I love this old house built in1929 and my heart breaks every time I think of leaving it. But it is time. My bones don't take to the stairs like they used to. Frances has long ago abandoned the upstairs and the beautiful view of the back yard.
The room where the two of us once dreamed of our future as we watched squirrels frisk in the early morning among the limbs of the old pecan tree became my art studio when we had to move the bed down stairs. This house graciously embraced the idea. The downstairs den, with its locally milled locust wood walls didn't exist in the original house and was a playground to Marty as he bounced on a mini-tram and tried out handstands on an antique trunk. I'm sure this house smiled at this little boy as he enjoyed pre-school through high school birthday parties. It, too, gradually revealed that it could become a kitchen when Marty moved off to college, and the old kitchen said it would be glad to become a bedroom after a hip surgery. We were surprised to discover where an original door once was, and a light switch hidden between the walls during this renovation. I smile at the thought of my sister, Becky and I actually putting a wooden floor over that new kitchen after taking out the linoleum floor and discovering the old original tiles. We laughed as we left a note sealed under one of the boards with our names. I smile as I remember painting that floor with an elaborate design. I look at this kitchen, which once was the den and the stove which replaced the sofa and remember bringing our new born son, fresh from the hospital and his marking his spot on that sofa. We loved him even more for that christening.
And then the living room and dining room insisted that they be switched for a while, as well, making the dining room closer to the new kitchen. I think of the stairs where we bounced down on our rears, Marty sitting in my lap, laughing and giggling. The same stairs that later entertained two grand boys for hours as they connected Mardi Gras beads end to end and slid the beads down those stairs like a slinky, followed by their bouncing down on their rears to repeat the process, and, yes, I did sit the two boys on my lap as we slid down, laughing and giggling. I think of the times these same stairs became a comfort spot as we sat and cried and shared our grief over deaths of loving dogs or pain caused by loved ones. It hurts to say good bye to this. But it is time.
So how do you say good bye to this? It is hard. It really is. I walk around the yard where we played, planted trees and flowers, hid Easter eggs or hit baseballs and chased dogs in the middle of the night that were cornering a possum, trying not to waken neighbors. I think of camping out back only to wake early so we could see a comet streak by. I smile at these memories.
As I look back at what this house has become over the last 43 years, I smile, but a part of me just wants to sit down and cry, and at times like this, the insecure me surfaces when I think of leaving this home and tells me that it is time for me to give up, too. “Life is over, I'm old and useless,” it whispers. “You can't even take care of yourself so how can you even think of taking care of the house,” it sneers? I feel despair as I think of the broken window from a baseball that once missed my glove and the cut that sent me to the ER for stitches and compare it to myself, broken and bleeding, feeling sorry for myself.
But as I sit on the patio in the dark listening to the tree frogs, Gumbo in my lap smelling the night air, I am reminded of the wonderful life we had here and I whisper a prayer. Prayers have a way of doing that, calming the storm raging within. Then memories or hurts begin to glide over the rough, the ugly, the sad, when you let them, and I thank God for that. Again I smile. The despair leaves. “It is time,” God murmurs. “Go. Enjoy your family and grandchildren. Start a new adventure.” That's what life is really about isn't it. Loving God and going when he calls. Frances and I are stepping out on faith and feel it is the right thing to do. I'm not really ready for it, but it is time to move on. And that's okay. God's timing is always so accurate when we are open to his whispers. It will hurt to leave this house but leaving our church and friends is a whole different story. But we must move on. Again I whisper a prayer for Emmanuel.
Sitting here reminiscing, I'm reminded that you don't say good bye to a home you have loved for 43 years? You just don't. Instead, you hold the memories fast in your heart and smile and say, “Well done.” You treasure all the memories of painting designs on tennis ball backboards and coffee tables.
You smile when you think of the rugs that you painted on wooden floors to cover up bad spots.
You smile at the time you opened up part of the ceiling in the new kitchen and painted the other half with leaves and tree limbs because your wife said, “Wouldn't it be nice if we could sit under the trees here?”
You laugh about the time the bathtub above had a burst pipe, which caused the sheet rock ceiling to fall in one of the rooms, allowing the house to reveal a hidden part of itself to you, gifting you with a beautiful, wooden ceiling. You smile thinking of the hours spent removing 5 or more layers of paint on that wooden ceiling and dream of what former owners must have been thinking to keep painting that wonderful wood. You think of life and dogs we've owned and buried in the back yard, of watching a boy become a delightful adult, of friends who have shared the journey with you and laughed and cried with you in this house and you are comforted knowing that God has been with you all the way. No, you don't give in to the insecurities that haunt you, but, instead, take a deep breath and look forward to the next adventure, to the new house that is waiting to reveal itself to you, too, knowing God will be beside you.
God reminds me, on occasions like this, that it will be fine. Life will go on. It is time for new adventures. It is time to embrace the joys that are yet to come. It will be hard to leave a house you dearly loved all your life. But it is Okay...honestly. It is time.
I thank God that Frances and I had the privilege of living in this grand old house, that was way older than us, and for the discoveries we made of its original blueprint. I marvel at the way past owners treasured the house too by making upstairs sleeping porches into full size bedrooms, and am thankful that we were chosen to care for it as well. I pray that the new owners will cherish what we have learned and will also think it a privilege to be caretakers of this marvelous home. Frances and I are writing down the discoveries of dear old 2009 for them. They need the history too. I pray that the new family will enjoy bumping on their rears down the stairs or hurry down for Christmas surprises. I pray that they will share laughter and love and joy in this house on Thornton Court. We love you 2009 Thornton Court and will never forget you. Thank you for sharing life with us for 43 years. We will miss you, but it is time and we are happy for new adventures.
Don't even get me started on how I will miss Emmanuel Baptist, a place I love even more that my house. The sermons, friends and love this church has shared are priceless. Leaving this church is going to be the hardest part of moving. But I smile, knowing it is time.
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and be not dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
© Nippy Blair 2015. Posts and pictures on this blog cannot be copied, downloaded, printed, or used without the permission of the blog owner, Nippy Blair.