Hey all. So I feel the need to explain this post a bit. It is a little out of the norm here.
Below is a short story I cooked up a few weeks ago. For a myriad of reasons, we are needing to move to a new home. So I thought I would write a poem or possibly a lyric about what it would be like to close the door, walk away from the only home many of my kids have ever known, and drive away for the final time. I gotta say, even though we are crammed in here like a bunch of sardines, it got me a little misty eyed just thinking about that day. It will be bittersweet for sure.
Well, the poem/lyric didn’t work out too well and it kinda morphed into a micro-story. I decided to write it from the perspective of my youngest son, Josh.
We all have “that house” tucked away somewhere in our childhood memories. The childhood home or favorite home that holds oh so many memories. (mine is on 6083 N Selland) So I am sure you will identify on some level.
I ended up liking it (I don’t like everything I write) and it made Vikki both laugh and cry so I thought I would share it with you all. It probably won’t hit you in the feels the same as it did her and I, but here it is.
To sweet and salty yet wonderful memories,
Daddy pulled the door snug and twisted the key, making sure the deadbolt slid tight. The he jiggled the knob, like he always did when we left the house together.
“Ok. Let’s go, Littles,” he said, gently nudging us down the walk. Again, like he had so many times before.
“Load up, guys!” He called out to my older siblings wandering about the front yard. They looked a little lost, milling around the grass like lost geese, only without feathers and the long skinny necks.
He cleared his throat and wiped the sweat from under his eyes. Daddy was a “sweater”. When it was warm outside, when he was nervous, when he had a big task ahead of him.
“Sweating like a pig.” He would say while mopping his forehead and swiping his moist fingers across his jeans, secretly hoping no one would notice.
We all piled into our van and buckled in. Me, next to my big sister Sam, like always.
Daddy took one last look at the house and let out a long low sigh. I noticed his shoulders tremble just a bit. He turned and I realized…he wasn’t sweating. Tears were gently rolling down his unshaven cheeks.
My little heart broke in two.
“Why is Daddy crying?” I whispered to Sami, a tiny lump gathering in my throat.
“Shhhh”, she said and began rubbing the center of my back. I love it when she does that. I snuggled against her, finding solace in her warmth…the kind that only big sisters can give.
Daddy was done with his final look and slid into the van. A soft sniffle from the passenger’s seat stole my attention from Daddy’s sighs and tear streaked face. Oh no. Momma was crying, too? Did I do something wrong? Or, was Gram’s sick again? Were we in trouble?
I quickly glanced around the van. Most of the kids were looking at the house. Some were occupied with other stuff. But everyone was quieter than normal.
I didn’t like this at all.
Daddy peeked over at Momma and gently squeezed her hand.
She nodded a wordless yes and wiped her nose with a tissue, forcing her lips into a quick smile.
I snuggled even closer to Sami, as if burrowing further into her ribs would hide me, shelter me, maybe help me comprehend what was happening. Because I sure didn’t understand.
“Ow, stop it, Josh. You’re hurting my side.” Guess I snuggled a little too close.
Daddy slowly backed our van down the driveway away from the only house I had ever called home.
Everyone remained quiet and still. Well, until Jenna piped up from way in the back.
“Goodbye, dumb old house. I never really liked you much anyway.”
I am not sure who started to snicker first. A giggle here, a giggle there. But when Joanna snorted the entire van exploded with the wild laughter our family was accustomed to. Even Dad cracked a sideways smile while slowly shaking his head.
“What? Why is everyone laughing?” Jenna piped up again, slightly chuckling herself.
The corners of Momma’s mouth gradually turned upward. The laugh lines around her eyes gently quivered. Then, unable to resist, her head tilted back just a bit, her mouth blasted opened wide, and one of her signature belly laughs split through the chorus of cackles.
Momma was laughing. I love my Momma’s laugh. A familiar comforting warmth budded in the middle of my chest and gently blossomed across my entire body, erasing all of my anxiety and concern. I added my own belly laughs to the swirling raucous laughter around me.
Just like that, I no longer felt like disappearing into my big sister’s ribs. I forgot about the tears, the tissues, the sighs.
I knew everything was gonna be OK. Why? Because my Momma was laughing. And I knew when I heard Momma laugh, deep inside I knew life was good.
No. I knew life was great.
And everything was gonna be fine.