Like the past two days, we woke up to kids jumping on our bed, ready to go at 6 a.m. Showers, followed by a thankfully short-lived chase of Landen, who escaped our hotel room (which required a call to the front desk as he was nowhere to be found) and enjoyed a few rides, I assume, up and down the elevator, and then we loaded into the car to drive the 15 miles or so to the expanded land of my Grandpa.
The build of my family isn't so unlike that which my grandparents had. The oldest, a girl, and then two boys (my dad being the youngest). As I sat in what used to be my grandma's chair today, I thought back on my memories of this house. This, the house my dad grew up in, with the shag carpet and rolling doors and the acres of land that used to house cows, pigs, and chickens. Memories of the stories my grandma used to tell of her own kids walking out each day to milk the cows and memories she had of my sister and I when we visited several times a year and we each had our own "pet" chickens.
I walked to the window and looked out to see my dad trekking up the "mountain," (as Braeden calls it) not with me and my sister, but now with my own kids. Behind them held a beautiful landscape of blue mountains covered in snow and the heavy line of trees where I can't see it, but I know familiarly that they house and shelter a creek that runs through the land.
The smell of this house takes me back every single time. Images of my grandma, who passed away only 6 years ago, are as fresh in my mind as the new snow that was already melting away today in the warm sun. There are the results of the touch of her hand everywhere I look. Pictures on the wall of family old and new, the cross stitching project I made for her when I was in third grade, the owl pot hanger positioned just above the stove...
I took over dinner tonight as my parents left for a while this evening. I was in charge of reheating Thanksgiving dinner from last night in a home with no microwave. As I worked around the oven, transferring pieces of last nights meal from one container to another, the sounds of rambunctiousness were above my head. Several times I trekked up the old, creaky wooden stairs to check on my little ones. Once, I came through the attic door to find Landen holding a small, old, pretty blue bottle with an overwhelming aroma of flowers in the air. As I cleaned him up and collected the bottle and its lid, I realized I was smelling what would have been a scent that perhaps she wore when she was younger, and that this scene probably wouldn't have been too foreign to her - chasing down her own three children, while trying to make dinner, and laughing to herself as she cleaned up the pieces, knowing that this was her joy.
As we ate the delicious food (prepared the night before by my mom, who makes an amazing Thanksgiving meal), I watched, as if from looking outside in, as my grandpa teased my kids, conversation was free-er than usual and we all enjoyed each others company.
And as Jon and I were cleaning up, I came upon this scene. Three generations a part, yet not so far apart to enjoy each others' company.
I sat down and breathed in the events of the day; the memories continuing to be made in this old, old house. Emerson learned to cross stitch since we've been here. My own kids found a creek and climbed the same "mountain" I did for the first time long, long ago. I walked into the back porch that my children call the "garage" to find, with tears in my eyes, my two oldest dancing together, Braeden twirling Emerson like a princess. Looking out the window and not only seeing the most beautiful landscape, but equally as beautiful, the scene of Emerson and Braeden dancing and acting silly as Landen laughed hysterically in front of them.
I learned life lessons in this house. I've felt a lot of love in this house. This is a place that houses so many memories of my childhood, of time with my family, of getting to know my grandma and grandpa as they spoiled me with food and gifts and especially of being so tickled by my grandma's funny stories.
This house has seen so much. It's given a home to stories of family and babies born in my grandparents' kids and then grandkids' families. It's also been a home of our tears and comfort after my grandma passed away after living a long life. And the funny stories and sweet memories continue.
This is life, this is what is important, and this is truly what I am thankful for. This, right here.