As many of you may know, we recently purchased and moved into our first home. Prior to that, we lived in a small in-law apartment attached to my grandma’s house. We had lived there from the time I was about eight months pregnant with Leah.
Sometime around when Leah turned two the apartment began to feel a bit cramped. The toddler toys were taking over the space, things needed updating, but we never wanted to move the already squeezed in furniture to do it, and it was hard having visitors and friends come through the garage and walk all the way around the pool to visit. We began saving up and talking about moving, and that become a goal that we focused on. When Dave started a new job and began to make some good money, the timing seemed perfect.
Everything happened so quickly. We saw the house once and fell in love. I knew I had to tell my grandma, and I spent some time stressing over the conversation, but when I finally did tell her she seemed fine with it. She said that she knew we couldn’t stay forever and that she figured it would be soon. After all the excitement and planning that built up until moving day, I cried a bit as I drove my car full of boxes in the caravan that made up our moving party.
The summer was busy. We visited my grandma several times, used the pool, and went to family parties at the house. Seeing the apartment so bare has been bitter-sweet. It looks so much bigger without all of our things. As winter draws near I recall how cozy and homey the apartment felt.
A few days ago I stopped by to visit and pick up a package and as soon as I walked in my grandma said to me, “Can’t you just sell your house and move back in? I miss you.” I know she was teasing me about the selling our house part, but it broke my heart a little. It wasn’t until that moment when I realized how much I miss her, too. Without her help and that apartment, my little family would not be thriving the way it is now. We would never have even been able to afford our home if the rent wasn’t so cheap there.
Up until now, my grandma has been present for every milestone in Leah’s life. She was there when I came in the door for the first time with my daughter in my arms. She was there all of the nights Leah cried herself to sleep while we got her to sleep in her own crib. She was there the day Leah took her first steps, her first swim, and the first time she helped me to bake in our cozy little kitchen. I began to think of all the other wonderful ways my family grew stronger in that apartment.
I made my first Christmas dinner there. I sat at the kitchen table and sewed clothes for my daughter. I spent hours in the kitchen cooking and talking with my best friend. I planned our wedding from that apartment. How could something that was so comfortable have gotten so uncomfortable?
We ran out of space physically, but the apartment will always be the home of so many wonderful memories. Sometimes I find myself halfway there when I am driving home and it makes me sad. But I know that a part of me will always think of that as home for two reasons. The first reason is that is where my family got its start, and family truly is what makes a house a home. The second reason is that is where my grandma is, and she is part of who I am and part of what home is for me. In the time I lived there we forged a close bond that can never be broken by living a few miles away.
Thank you, Grandma. Without you, and without the roof over our heads and the walls that held us all together I don’t know where I would be now. I love you to pieces and just know that while I don’t live on the other side of your walls, I also don’t live too far.