I was thinking the other day about my house. On December 3rd we will have lived here for 13 years. A long time for some people, a short time for others. Some families live in homes where several generations have grown up in them. They under go renovations and updating. Sometimes rooms are added on, sometimes whole wings are added as the house grows to suit their needs. We did none of those things. Except for the bushes and trees aging and maturing, my house looks much the same as it did when we moved here.
The house in the Spring of 1998.
Over the years as the house aged, just like anything else, the age began to show. It needed a new coat of paint, new shingles, repainted shutters, and other normal maintenance. Then like magic, the house once again stood proud, as if refreshed after a day at the spa.
The House in the Autumn of 2010.
Thirteen years is a long time for my family to live in one house. Even as a child, my family moved frequently, a year here, two years there, one time five years in the same place. I repeated the pattern with my own family, we never lived longer than 5 years in one house until we moved where we currently live.
What I began to think about recently is how well I know this house. Which stair risers creak, the sound of water rushing through the pipes, the little noises and groans the house makes as it settles down for the night. Even the appliances running make comforting and familiar sounds, like the running of the dishwasher in the evening, or the washer and dryer during the morning. These sounds mean life is going on as normal. When the winds of autumn blow around the eves, or the snow piles up outside in the winter, I've heard and seen those things before, and it's a blessing to be in the same place, and see those same familiar sites, season after season.
View of the house from the backyard.
This house has given shelter to the family who lives here. It has protected us from the hot sun, and cold snows. It has been a comfortable place to come to when the day is hard and long. It has been a safe place to sleep so we could face another day. Holidays are familiar with the house cheerfully decorated, as if attending a grand party. As the family gathers around the holiday table to share a meal, the house makes us feels warm, cozy, and safe.
One day, we most likely won't live in this house anymore. Our memories will be relived, both through stories and photographs of the time we spent here. Another family will someday buy this house. They will fill it up with their own memories and experiences and it will become their place of refuge from the world.