Change, Home, Uncategorized

Welcome Home

Several years ago, I interviewed Jeanne Marie Laskas, a columnist for The Washington Post Magazine, who wrote the weekly column Significant Others.

I asked her how she came up with a column topic every week for over 14 years.

She said her ideas came from thinking about what moved or touched her that week.

I often ask myself the same question when trying to come up with a blog topic.

What has caused an emotional reaction in me?

The answer to that question came instantly this morning  — the stunning beauty all around me.

I confess I wondered if we’d made the right decision while driving through the desolate landscape near the Colorado/Utah border.

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It felt like we were driving through a Western movie set and I worried we’d get caught up in a train robbery — even though there wasn’t a train in sight.

I scanned the barren landscape looking for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or Matt Dillon, Miss Kitty, Doc and Festus from Gunsmoke.

What have we done? I wondered.

All that changed a few hours later when we met our daughter Sara and our friend Peggy at the front door of our new house.

The beauty around us is astounding.

 

img_6631I’ve never yearned to live in the mountains. In fact, I’ve always felt more comfortable in a busy city.

When I moved to Washington, D.C., my dad couldn’t understand why I wanted to stay.

“When are you moving home to Utah?” He always asked.

The more years that went by, the more Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia felt like home.

Utah wasn’t home to me. It was where our families lived — a place we visited.

But, after 37 years, something changed.

Now, surprisingly, Utah is where we live. 

img_6629We’re not planning to pack our bags at the end of this vacation and go back home to Virginia.

Utah is our new home.

 

 

And, we’re learning there’s a lot to love about living here.

At the top of the list are our “significant others.” We’re surrounded by people we love.

So, what caused an emotional reaction in me this week?

Living near our daughters and son-in-law, my mom, our brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, and … all this beauty.

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Change, Uncategorized

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things

Until a few weeks ago, a sign hung above our kitchen sink that said, “The best things in life aren’t things.”

Never has that felt more true.

At night, instead of sleeping lately, I worried about our cross-country move and  all our things — what to toss, keep, or give away.

It’s an endless process.

Just when I thought we’d tossed, packed or given away everything possible, we’d open a drawer or a closet, and find more things.

Packing or saying goodbye to our things was the easy part.

Saying goodbye to our friends, neighbors, house, and favorite places was a little tougher, definitely more bittersweet.

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A beautiful meadow on our walking trail

A couple weeks ago, Sara and Annie came home for their last weekend in Virginia.

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Sara and Annie showing off our “brick” at the high school football stadium

We decided to make the best of our last Virginia/DC weekend together.

We created a detailed schedule that included meals at favorite restaurants, walks on favorite trails, outdoor markets, and DC landmarks. We even made a playlist of songs that reminded us of our many experiences over the years.

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We lived like tourists and enjoyed the DC Duck tour

We included time in our schedule for reminiscing.

Our friend, Cindy, recommended we walk through our house — room by room– and record our memories.

We not only walked through our house, we went to some of the other places where we’ve collected a lot of our memories.

We learned that none of them included things.  They centered on people and great experiences.

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Eastern Market on Capitol Hill

 

Some of our memories were:

  • Dressy tea parties in the living room with visiting grandparents
  • Prom photos on the staircase
  • Game nights and family dinners around the kitchen table
  • Christmas mornings in the family room
  • Getting our dog, Nikki, as a Christmas gift
  • Christmas Eve pageants and parties with friends
  • Annie running out to the playground in the backyard after elementary school, and singing at the top of her lungs as she pumped her little legs in the swing
  • Sara and her friends having their own versions of American Idol in the basement
  • Neighborhood Halloween parades and Trick or Treating
  • Being snowed in and having an impromptu potluck party with our neighbors
  • Training and loving our dog, Nikki
  • Friends, friends, and more friends
  • Learning about 9/11 and lining our neighborhood streets with American flags
  • Swim meets, soccer, lacrosse , basketball, softball, and field hockey games
  • Cheerleading competitions
  • Homecoming parades
  • Standing in our driveway praying for our neighbors when their house was on fire
  • Doug’s perfectly mowed lawns
  • And more…

 

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One of our favorite places

 

With all of these memories, the nostalgia was palpable and the memories poignant and sweet.

It was hard for the girls to say goodbye to the house and to their lives in that house.

Doug and I felt some of that sadness as we drove away today.

But, we kept telling ourselves it wasn’t the home that we loved as much as the lives we lived in that home and the memories we made.

As we create a new home, we need to remember, it’s not about the things in the house, it’s about the experiences we create and enjoy in the house.

While our things end up keeping us awake at night with questions about what to toss, what to keep, and what to give away, our friends and experiences give us wonderful memories to savor for a lifetime.

Thankfully, we have an endless supply of those good memories from our lives in Virginia.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to a truly beautiful life in such a wonderful place.