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 truer.
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 and more bittersweet.
A couple weeks ago, Sara and Annie came home for their last weekend in Virginia.
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.
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, but we also 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.
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…
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.