I’ve been on a decorating and nesting tear, emptying boxes that have been in my garage for years, hanging pictures, dusting off knick-knacks and sorting through drawers. I took a carload of stuff to the Rescue Mission, and I’m on the lookout for a new shelf for my office. I’ve also made a list of jobs I need done: paint the bathroom, cut down tree in back yard, fix electrical outlet in the den.
This surge of activity began last month, when friends were preparing to move into a new home. They’d been living in an apartment for three years, saving money until they could afford a house in the area they wanted to raise their young son. They were relieved at the transition, an appropriate rite of passage for a youngish couple settling into a community.
I stopped by my friends’ house day they moved in. It’s a new house in a new development, and everything is shiny and fresh. The grass is just beginning to grow, and tiny trees dot the neighborhood. They were excited to show it off, and for good reason. It’s the perfect spot to plant roots, build memories and let their story grow.
My house, just a few minutes away, is far from shiny and new. It’s in an older neighborhood, and when my parents bought it more than 40 years ago, they were optimistic about the opportunities I and my siblings would encounter here. Like many teenagers in suburbia, though, I couldn’t wait to get away and create my own life.
I ended up back at my childhood house when Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I became her primary caregiver. I stayed in the house after she died, but it’s felt like a temporary stop as I figure out my next chapter.
The hardwood floors need refinishing, nearly every room needs fresh paint, and I’m crossing my fingers the roof holds on a few more years. And don’t get me started on the lawn! There’s so much to do, and what if I decide to sell the house?
But watching my friends’ excitement spurred me to action. What was I waiting for? Time to get out the hammer and paintbrushes. This is, after all, my story, worn floorboards and all.