As some of you already know I have a rather amazing sister-in-law. Many of you got to get acquainted with Sarah since she kept my whole labor-and-delivery news updated while I was in hospital. (I have to confess that I volunteered her for that position without even asking her, but nevertheless wasn't she cool about it?) So, first of all, a big ole thanks from me to her.
Yesterday, I got to take the tour of her house that she and my brother are renovating. (Backstory: the house is just across a field from my parents' house and is part of what we call the Family Farm because it's part of the property where my parents, grandma, aunt and uncle, and cousin's family all live. There's property available for us if we decide to build up there, but we aren't quite ready to trade in our status as Oregonians to become Washingtonians.) If you are a fan of remodeling shows (ala HGTV) you have to keep up with the farm house's amazing progress. It started out looking something like this, then had a bit of this, and now something like this. Right now, I suppose, it looks perhaps a little less like "amazing" and a little more like "make sure you don't fall through the floor," but every house has to start somewhere. Everyone in the family is so excited to see how the house is going to turn out, and we all know that in the end it will look incredible.
Sarah has such great ideas for her house, and I love to see how she and my brother are really making it their own. Over the past century (or so) many families have lived in the old farm house, although in my 30-year life I have only known a few of them. I remember that I used to have a childhood pal who lived there for a short time. I still have the painted Christmas ornament that she gave me, and hang it every year on our tree even though it's actually quite heavy and maybe just a little bit ugly.
When I was in fourth grade, my aunt and uncle bought the house and lived there for more than 10 years before building a new house across the field. My cousin and I were good buddies (and still are!), and so I have a lot of great memories of hanging out in the farm house. Hanging out in the closets--they had sloping ceilings and tiny floor-level windows--playing games and reading books. Watching Days of our Lives and crying over Jennifer and Jack getting married (the first time). The night that a bat flew down the chimney and my uncle swatted it down, where it landed on my cousin. Having my aunt teach me to sew. Sewing a quilt. Building straw forts in the barn. Saddling up the horse. BBQs on the deck. And, of course, the many nights I
walked ran the not-even-quarter mile back to my house in the dark, past the holly trees, terrified that a coyote would rip my legs off. So many fond memories.
And now...Tyler, Sarah and the girls will be creating all new memories in the house. I'm glad the house is staying in the family. I can already imagine summer afternoons sitting on the front porch, eating some delicious treat that Sarah will have whipped up in the kitchen. Those old wood floors that have felt so many people walk on them will feel the footprints of a new generation--bare feet, socky feet, baby feet, and eventually school-shoe clad feet. And someday my girls will tell stories of all the fun they had with their cousins, playing in the big old house on the Family Farm.
Maybe, if they're lucky, they'll even have a few night-time sprints through the dark, past the holly trees, hoping the coyotes don't rip their legs off.
Sarah, I'm so happy for you. Welcome home.