I drove Tom's truck to Houston on Saturday. The kids and I made a one-day trip there to continue sorting through things at my parents' house, my childhood home, where every square inch and every random object holds a special memory.
What to keep and what to sell from a lifetime of memories, when you're already weeding and tossing at your own home because you have no room? I wasn't looking forward to it.
But my kids provided the perfect balance of reminiscing, mourning, laughing, and staying on task to get the job done and be back on the road before the sun set.
My main goal for this trip, and the ulterior motive in having the kids there, was to retrieve the big items I wasn't ready to sell. But I also wanted to give the kids a chance to say goodbye to a house where they had spent much of their childhood, just as I did.
I was fortunate that my parents watched Tommy and Daniel after they were born when I had to return to work. When TG was born, I quit work, and just a few years later we moved to Austin, but each Christmas vacation, spring break, and a week every summer found us at my parents' home.
My own memories are in layers; you have to peel away quite a few to understand why I brought back the items I did.
My mother's cedar chest. It's dry and cracking in places, but still aromatic and beautiful. I often pleaded with my mother to open it and let me look (again!) at the items she kept inside.
The cabinet sewing machine. It's an old Domestic that swings up when you open the cabinet. My mother and grandmother worked magic with this machine, that I could never duplicate. Clown and ballerina costumes, school clothes, my sister's wedding dress and my homecoming queen dress, along with so much more.
(However, I did sew on it. It's the only machine I've ever felt comfortable with, sewing many a Barbie doll and Liddle Kiddle outfit, plus patching up and/or decorating my jeans because the needle had no problem going through denim.)
The console stereo that stood front and center in our living room for decades even after the stereo quit working. From it I first heard Bill Cosby telling his jokes, sang along with the Beach Boys, and listened to the Mary Poppins soundtrack for hours when I could do nothing else because of my asthma.
How could I leave it behind? It now sits in a special place in my office, and I can't wait to listen to those albums again. There's a portable stereo sitting where the original used to be. If I can only figure out how to hook it up to the speakers...
My brother Buster's footlocker. Truthfully, it holds no memories for me, but it's priceless, nonetheless. In it you'll find his Vietnam-era medals and other things which were important to him, and therefore to me and my mom. It had to come along as well.
I had no idea where I would put these treasure boxes in my home, which I've already mentioned feels overcrowded with my own stuff.
But I decided not to worry about that. I had the boys load them all up, along with an old suitcase we found filled with some of my Daddy's papers, an old bridle, my grandmother's sewing basket, a portrait of my parents' dog Little Bull painted by my Aunt Bertha Lee ...
Anyway, despite my worrying, I've already found places for them in spots that now seem were made for them. It alway seems to work out, when you follow your heart, doesn't it?
Here are a few other sweet!s from the past week...
Monday: pink skies; taking a little extra time on your morning walk to snap photos; being a help to your mom
Tuesday: no traffic on your way downtown; catching up with friends at an office meeting; an afternoon at home to work; baby daddy-long-legs
Wednesday: a quick lunch with your daughter; jewelry parties and new leads; your husband finding new tires for your car, cheap, on Craig's List
Thursday: a cardinal singing to you on your morning walk; the way your mom's eyes light up at the sight of you; networking with your son and some of his friends at the Buzz Mill on a gorgeous night; vodka fused with mango and Blue Ox barbecue
Friday: connecting with a creative friend focused on helping your business; making your mom laugh; colorful old houses
Saturday: frogs singing to you on your morning walk; photography challenges; discovering a bird's nest hidden beside a path you walk every morning
Sunday: "watching" the Super Bowl with lots of fun people; Franklin's barbecue, without having to stand in line
Monday: a motivational reminder appearing in your mailbox, just when you need it; fellow agents brainstorming options for a friend who is about to be evicted
Tuesday: showing properties; a splash of color on a rainy day; being asked to help a friend's parents move to Austin; your son calling you outside so you don't miss the full moon surrounded by clouds
Wednesday: an early morning phone chat with your cousin; foggy mornings; meeting your mom's new roommate's daughter and granddaughter
Thursday: winning a Starbucks gift card and collecting free pens and koozies and a Realtor event; finding those special Red Velvet Oreos; helping to thank a valued coach and wishing him well on his new adventure
Friday: coffee and catching up with a past client; long overdue phone visits with your mother-in-law and sister-in-law
Saturday: your kids lessening your load with laughter and support as you begin to clear out your childhood home; your son volunteering to check out the attic for you; a visit and hugs from your sister and a dear friend; a sunset from Hruska's parking lot
Sunday: chatting with a friend over chocolate pancakes at the Garden of Eatin' after church; Sunday inspiration; cherished relics of your childhood home settled in your grown-up home; your husband taking care of the awful noise your car was making
Monday: your mom being close enough to stop by and reassure her when she's having a bad day; meeting another Realtor in the grocery store and stopping to talk shop for half an hour
I'm way overdue with posting my sweet!s, but I'm managing to look for them each day, and that's really what matters, isn't it? I hope you are, too.
"Gratitude is the memory of the heart."
~Jean Baptiste Massieu, translated from French