By Stacy Johnson
My family spent this last weekend moving my parents out of their home. We built the home 29 years ago this summer. I say “we” because I was 10 at the time and even though my uncle really built it, we all chipped in. I remember sweeping floors, picking up nails, tarring the brick in the basement, etc. I remember the day we moved in because I was got my own room and didn’t have to share with my two sisters anymore. Over the years, I think my parents have paid the house off two or three times. We were blessed to have it during times of need.
To say that we are sad at the thought of them not living there anymore is an understatement, we are devastated. Without going into details, let’s just say another one bites the dust of the economy and move on. On the flip side, the house was turning into the money pit and with my dad’s declining health, it was just draining them. The move to a smaller house will be a cleansing, a purge, a do-over if you will. I will go and finish emptying my mom’s closet and a few things left in the kitchen this morning. We will vacuum the floors and mop the kitchen. Mom just wouldn’t feel leaving good about leaving a mess, she has too much integrity for that. We will leave behind the stone fireplace and hearth that we used to warm ourselves for our early morning family scripture study. We leave behind the swimming pool where we spent our summers cooling off and enjoying each other’s company. We will leave behind the custom built home that boasted a giant food storage closet and mom’s personal sewing/craft office. We will leave behind the slab of cement where we parked our boat, our camper, our trailer. We will leave behind just a house.
The things we will take with us are more precious than those. We will take the memories. We will remember raiding the freezer for ice cream after the Saturday night dances. We will remember the love we felt when each of us girls married and our ward family and friends threw us wedding showers and then subsequent baby showers. We will remember sharing rooms when we moved back home between college semesters cause our sisters took over our room in our absence. We will remember the massive porch where we ate homemade tuti fruti ice cream on summer holidays with our cousins and grandparents. We will remember sitting on the kitchen counters and telling funny stories until much later than we should of because it wasn’t a school night and we just loved being together. We will remember the outpouring of love our ward family showed us during more than one medical crisis. We will remember that from that house, mom and dad graduated 6 kids from high school and 3 from college. They sent out 4 missionaries and welcomed 16 grandchildren. We will remember that we were loved and blessed.
As we carry that last box to the car and turn to lock the door, we will remember that the house isn’t the memory, it is the family. Then I will remind us, “It’s only money,” and get in the car and drive away.