Monday, February 23, 2009

It's Only Money

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.

5 comments:

  1. Those are beautiful memories, Stacy. I enjoyed getting to know you better through these heartfelt words. You stirred up long-supressed memories of my own childhood homes and moving adventures. And I agree...it is just a house now. The important things you can take and keep with you!

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  2. "Thanks for the memories." I'd add a few musical notes if I knew how.

    We moved into this house 29 years ago, and guess what? We're thinking of moving. Therefore, your blog had double meaning to me. And you're right. It isn't the house, it's the family and the memories that count. And, "No, no, you can't take these away from me." (If you remember these songs, you must be pretty old.)

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  3. We spent the weekend in New Mexico cleaning our house. It really is just a house now, and it doesn't feel like home any more. I really felt the power of the message you were sharing here.
    I am saddened that your parents have this struggle right now, but am so grateful that you are nearby to help them.

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  4. Loved the memories and the powerful lesson that it is only the house, and you still have what made it a home, your family. When we graduate this life, that is again what we have, our relationships and our intelligence. What a comfort both our families and the Gospel are. Come to think of it, they are one and the same.

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