I’m still enjoying the afterglow of Annie’s wedding.
One of my favorite things about the holidays and the wedding was having my house full of people — my people — my friends and family, including our new addition of a son-in-law.
A perfect kind of holiday.
I love a full house full of people; a house that exudes happy energy.
I go to sleep happier on nights when our home is filled with people who make me laugh, think, or just make me feel better because their personalities have enlivened my home.
We’ve lived in this house for 17 years and many of my favorite times have been when our house was full of people playing, sharing, celebrating, and creating memories together.
I look into the backyard and remember Annie hosting a “field day” with all of her friends or hosting all the neighborhood families for a Halloween party of a chili cook -off.
I remember Sara and Annie and their friends posing for group prom photos on the staircase or playing “capture the flag” all around the front and back yard. I remember a live band in our driveway and dancing to the “Funky Chicken” with my neighbors at a block party.
One of my friends recently said, “You can never move. This is where we come to celebrate!”
It’s true. We have bridal showers, baby showers, birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinners, and Christmas Eve celebrations that lead to irreverent (but memorable) productions of the Christmas story from the Bible.
We’ve had dinner parties, craft nights, book clubs, dance parties, garage sales, and sleepovers.
I remember the night Sara had a sleepover and I thought all the girls were sleeping peacefully in the basement.
Sara woke me up about two in the morning to tell me that a little girl’s wire in her braces sprung out of her mouth and she was having a panic attack.
The more the girls tried to fix the problem, the worse it got. By the time Doug and I were called to the scene, she had a three-inch wire sticking out of the front of her mouth. She could hardly talk or breathe because she was so upset.
Even that memory morphed into a happy one over time. It’s part of our house history –just like the hole in the basement wall that has never been fully explained.
After the holidays, we tried to “purge” our basement storage space of a lot of things we no longer need.
We opened up boxes we haven’t opened for years, and found stories wrapped up in all of them — elementary school reports, videos and photos, way too many books, costumes, trophies, awards, decorations.
They all tell stories of our lives in this house. We even found an elaborate three-month calendar on a big whiteboard that Doug used to keep track of my chemo treatments and drug and shot regime.
Some things are easier to get rid of than others, but in the end, it’s the memories we want to keep — not all the memorabilia. And, there are easier, more space-saving ways to keep the memories.
I love this house, but what I love more is what has happened in this house, and who we’ve become while living here.
Some of my favorite scenes in Downton Abbey are the sweet conversations between Carson and Mrs. Hughes over a cup of tea because even though there lives are spent taking care of a house and a family, the sweetness comes when a pair of dear friends ponder life and love.
And, like Carson so eloquently said, “The business of life is the acquisition of memories, in the end that’s all there is.”