It is almost official. In about a week, my dad will have sold the house we all grew up in and it will no longer be our hub. Our center. A teeny piece of my life will go away. It’s one of those things you know will happen. And even if it is the right decision, holy crap, does it suck.
Seeing that empty kitchen for the first time was a gut punch. The kitchen is where everyone gathered. Even though there were at least three other rooms on the first floor, everyone stood around the kitchen to talk, eat, slice, prep, cook. We usually all stood around the table. The one that was there for every meal as I grew up. A table that my grandmother had purchased for my grandparents (I think I have that right…) and a duplicate of the one that used to be in her kitchen and is now in my basement. There was always sliced sausage, some cheese, usually some olives because I bought them, and my dad at the stove checking on his sauce. This is what I’m going to make sure I remember about that kitchen. That’s what I thought about while my brother and I saw it emptied out.
My biggest worry in losing this house is losing my connection to everyone. That is not to say that my dad should never have sold, it’s just a realization of what a centering place the house was. It was where we returned. If we were seeming distant or disconnected, a Sunday Lupper with dad’s meatballs and sauce was usually the perfect antidote. If we needed to meet up, we would do it there. Christmas Eve. Birthdays. The never-ending supply of tools to borrow. The never-ending supply of fresh tomato sauce or sausage in the basement. There was a sense of connection to everyone through my dad and by extension through the house. Sure, it’s probably all a romanticized notion and is me waxing nostalgic for something about to be sold, but it is also something I’m mindful of.
As everyone gets involved in their own lives and families grow and lives move on, I think it becomes harder to see people and maintain connected. More effort is required. There is a lot more work involved. Sure, I may text often and share and comment pictures on social media, but it does not at all equal those times you are face to face. And I feel like there is less of that. And I feel like seeing my dad’s house empty triggered something in me that is making me want to work a hell of a lot harder on maintaining connection. And it’s not even just in my family. I sometimes pull back because I don’t want to seem pushy. Or too desperate maybe? Or maybe it’s because I think my house is a mess and I shouldn’t invite people over. Or it’s really hard to find time. Or it’s too hard to find someone to stay with the kid. Or would it be odd for me to bring the kid. Or it’s after work and I haven’t see my husband or the kid all day, do I really want to go out?
This post got away from me a bit. But I think it’s getting to a point. Bear with me. I have placed a lot of emphasis on the memories (good and bad) formed in the house I grew up in. And they are there. And they are what we will hold on to as the house gets sold and it is not there. But so many of those memories and things I fear losing are not based on that house but the people who were there at the time. I will miss my dad making meatballs in his kitchen – he could come to my house and teach me. I miss gathering around that table and catching up with everyone – there are other kitchens to gather around. Sometimes it feels too hard to try to get everyone together. Or you think it has to be all or nothing, but the reality is it’s never the perfect time. You just need to make it happen.
(phew, I actually pulled this off)