Today I went to Rome. I had been at Mom and Dad's house (soon to be Cole & Christy's house) for only a few minutes when Kim got there, so I had little time to think of it as a lonely house; within ten minutes, Cole and Christy and Oliver and Jessica and Adam were all there, and the house was full of conversation and laughter and love once again... and that's the way it should be.
It's hard for me to believe that this house is almost 45 years old (we moved in on April 4th, 1963). I can so vividly recall my first night at the house; the many hours I spent in my room painting monster models and airplane models; late Friday nights watching Bestoink Dooley's Big Movie Shocker and staying up way after midnight just because I could; replacing my bed with bunk beds and then with a sofa bed as I grew older and needed more space for other things; afternoons and evenings in the living room, watching television with the whole family; sprawling out on the couch to read Doc Savage and James Bond and Edgar Rice Burroughs and so many other favorites; Christmases and birthdays galore; cookouts with hot dogs and hamburgers; listening to music on the living room stereo/TV console before I got a stereo of my own...
This house was meant to be filled with joy, not with sadness and regrets. As soon as everyone gathered there, the house seemed alive again--so vividly so that I expected Mom or Dad to come around the corner from the living room into the kitchen at any moment.
We spent some time figuring out who wanted what pieces of furniture. We're to the point now that we need to get the house cleaned out so that Cole and Christy can get to work making it their home; there's no reason for this house to sit in a twilight zone for another few weeks. Everyone was given a pad of post-it notes of a different color and told to tag the things they wanted with a post-it tag; if two people were interested in the same thing, they should both tag it so that we could figure out an allocation afterwards. By the time we finished, there was nothing tagged twice as far as I can recall; there were several things that weren't tagged at all, which is what we needed to determine. The furniture and household goods that no one wants need to be catalogued and donated to do someone else some good; the other furniture needs to be moved out so that there's room for Cole and Christy to move in.
I hope that they're living in the house by the end of September. Hearing laughter and love and family in the house again was so revitalizing that I realize just how much I had missed it all. There was even talk of Christmas Eve at the house--Cole expressed a desire to have everyone come over there for Christmas Eve, and I was so happy to hear it. That home has been a Christmas centerpiece for decades; I cherish the thought that it might be a part for decades to come.
And Oliver... he has a remarkable life ahead of him. He's going to grow up in a home that has been filled with the love of three generations before him; that's something that few children can experience!
I know that Mom and Dad had to be smiling with us this afternoon...