This past November Ralph and I became first-time home owners!
It has been a very exciting and bittersweet time. Much has happened over the past three months that has really challenged & changed me. Days after getting the keys to our new home Ralph's mother, Jean's, battle with cancer intensified and she passed away a few weeks later. She was a great lady and a very special part of our lives. I am very sad for Ralph that he will never be able to share his new home with his mom. I believe she knew that we had closed on it and she had seen real estate pictures of it from back in June when we were interested in purchasing it - but sadly she was never physically able to be here. The holidays were tough and we have been bumping along on our way back to normal - settling into our new digs - every once in a while it hits you - "I'm a home owner!"
This morning was special. The house was quiet, Ralph was out working, Joel still sleeping and our crazy cats were off entertaining themselves with a nap. So I decided to take advantage of the piece and quiet and tackled a stack of boxes that I have not had time to unpack. Much to my surprise the not-so-fun-dreaded task of unpacking turned into a pretty great journey. In my new living room I have a tall white Ikea bookcase with glass doors that I keep my special pieces in and I had not yet unpacked them. Some people would view these things that I keep in here as trinkets or dust collectors but to me they are treasured memories.
I lifted the lid off the first box marked fragile and started taking out the carefully wrapped items inside. The first memory unwrapped was a boy with a duck figurine that Ralph's mother had given him not to long ago - she had been holding onto it for him - as a small child she said that he would spend hours playing with it at his grandmother's home. I placed it on a shelf along with some other memories: A ceramic snowman painted by Jeanie, a glass pitcher she would serve sauce from when I went to her house for dinner (a very funny long running joke), a Hummel figurine she gave me from her collection, a very old brass miners head lamp that belonged to my father's father, a dainty flower painted porcelain vase along with a cute box that has an elf sitting on its lid belonging to my grandmother, and a silver crab that belonged to my great-aunt - I remember sitting on my parents lap playing with it on my great-aunt's table. The top shell of the crab is a lid and they would keep aspirin or some type of medication in it and whenever I played with it it was quickly removed from my hands.
The next box I unpacked contained my son Joel's vintage monkey collection - I'll keep them in the bookcase for safe keeping and pack them up for Joel when he finally has a place of his own and can display them - also in this box - all the artwork that he made during his four years in prep school. I carefully unwrapped each piece and gave it a special place on the shelf. Once they were all unpacked I stood back and looked at all these pieces and was in awe of his talent, I will always cherish them.
I finished unpacking the boxes, clearing the hallway in our bedroom, happy to say that everything now has its very own special place in the bookcase in our living room. I stood there and looked at all the interesting pieces in the bookcase and was feeling like I was seeing them for the first time and was wondering why - and it occurred to me. Even though Jeanie, my Grandmother & Grandfather, and my great Aunt will never physically enter our new home their memories live on through these pieces and will help to make our house a home.