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Death can really turn your life upside down. It wasn't easy saying goodbye to my parents, and then it was time to let go of my childhood home. I was driving over to meet a couple who might want to buy it.
On the car ride over, my mind was spilling over with childhood memories of past holidays: the chaos of a full house, people laughing, sharing stories, and enjoying their time together. My vision blurred as tears filled my eyes. How could I say goodbye to it all? My entire childhood-my past?
When I arrived, I hurried up the sidewalk to the house, twisted the key in the lock and flung the door open. I was home.
I stood gazing at the staircase my brother and I used to race down every Christmas morning. I stared into the living room. Sun rays reached through the large picture window where the Christmas stood each year. Dad always brought home the largest, bushiest tree. I could almost smell the pine scent that filled the room as we trimmed the tree.
In the corner of that room were indentions in the carpet where my dad's recliner sat for as long as I could remember. I pictured him leaned back with a book on his chest and his glasses pulled down on his nose, snoring.
I walked into the kitchen where Mom and I baked countless batches of cookies together on Sunday afternoons. I don't think I could put a number on the peanut butter sandwiches, glasses of Kool-Aid and warm fresh cookies my friends and I enjoyed in that kitchen. Oh, and the aroma of fresh rolls and a turkey baking on Thanksgiving. The thought of fresh rolls wafting out of that kitchen still made my stomach growl.
I walked over to the sink and stared out the window looking out over the backyard. Out back sat an old rusty swing set my brother and I played on many a sunny afternoon. Of course, it wasn't so run down back then. It was green with white stripes at one time. I smiled as I thought back to the time I fell off the slide and bloodied my knees. My dad rushed out to me, wiped away my tears, and took me inside to bandage my wounds.
As I stood reminiscing, I was reminded of a quote from one of my favorite authors, Thomas Wolfe. He said, "You can't go home again." I always thought that quote was correct, but the more I thought about it, I had to disagree. While another family will own this home, and I'll never be able to walk through those doors again, this house is only a structure. I'll always be able to return home as long as I have my memories. Time spent with my family is what made that house a home. I can close my eyes and go home to my memories anytime.
The doorbell rang. I took a deep breath and opened the door. It was time to let this house make a home full of memories for a new family.