Wednesday, June 10, 2015

a new home to love

My parents have sold their house and are moving South. It's a crazy and exciting time and I am looking forward to visiting them in their new house on the prettiest lake in South Carolina. Of course we've got a little ways to go since they're building it from the ground up, but I know it's going to be wonderful when they finally can settle in. They're building it with visions of a growing family in mind, making it the perfect place for my sister and I, new son-in laws, and their future grand kids, to come to and feel at home.

I like to say that South Carolina is my adopted home state. I've moved so many times and had homes all over that I don't really know what answer to give when people ask "where are you from?" So sometimes, instead of giving the long winded response, where I list off all the places I've lived and loved, the easiest thing these days seems to just claim South Carolina as home. I feel like I have a good stake there. It's where my husband was born and raised, we both went to university there, it's where we got married, my sister still lives there, I have an aunt, uncle and cousin down there, and now my parents are going to be there!! For me, that's a big part of what defines home- wherever my people are.

I never thought that when I decided to go to college in South Carolina that it would have such a long reaching impact on our family, that we would find a place where we all want to put down roots. What's even more incredibly fortunate about this move is that my parents' new house is going to be on the same lake that my in laws have a house. I love that distance between our two families is closing in. T.J. jokes that he would never have thought that the girl he fell in love with from Ohio/New Jersey/Maryland/England/DC/etc? would have a lake house just a few miles from his folks.

For us, especially living so very far away, it's going to make everything so much more convenient. A one stop shop for our favorite people. My family spent most of my childhood schlepping across the East Coast, spending big chunks of our vacations on long car trips to see our family spread far and wide. I loved it because that's all I knew, that's what we did.  I don't know what it's like to have grandparents down the road from us. But maybe my kids will. T.J. and I hope to end up back in South Carolina when we're done with his Army commitment. To think I might get to raise my family just a short drive away from my folks, and his folks, makes my heart want to explode. What an absolute joy that will be.
My dad posted this picture of their home in New Jersey, now empty and soon to be in the hands of another family. And I felt a lump in my throat. It's the house they moved to when they returned from the UK. I didn't expect to feel sad like I did with every other house we've said goodbye to because technically I never actually lived there. But my parents have a way of creating a cozy sanctuary where my sister and I can return to and it always feels like home. I have a lot of wonderful memories in that house, roasting marshmallows in the fire pit, hiking in the woods in the backyard, snuggled up on the couch, sipping tea in the sun room, the way it looked covered in snow or surrounded by golden leaves in the fall. So while I'm so excited for their move to the South, this goodbye feels bittersweet.

But if I've learned anything over the years I've spent defining what home means to me, in different states and countries, it's that my heart has room. It grows and makes space each time for a new place, a new house, new memories. I can't wait to see what wonderful surprises this new home, that my parents are lovingly building from the ground up, will hold for our family.

5 comments :

  1. Such a sweet post, Shannon. Memories remain warm in our hearts and that's really all that matters!!

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  2. I love that you parents make even a home you never lived in feel like home! It is a real testament to who they are!

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  3. I hope one day you get to live in S. Carolina close to family. My sister, brother, Dad and cousins all live in my town. My daughters have gone to the same schools as me and have had some of the same teachers. Its a nice feeling.

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  4. Beautiful post. We, too, have moved around a lot. My #1 girl has claimed Texas as her home state and my #2, who is in college in VA is planning to do the same. They spent a lot of their childhood outside of Houston and Dallas. Meanwhile, we live outside of Boston. BTW.. Say your wedding video and it was gorgeous!

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