One of my favorite childhood memories is climbing the low-hanging evergreen trees in my grandparent’s backyard. The branches were strong and sturdy. They started low at the ground and went up for what felt like forever. You could easily climb high into the tree and never realize it until you stopped and looked down. Sometimes we would be so high up, that a moment of fear would quickly take over. I would have to remind myself, “If I got up here, I can get down”.
I was never bored at my grandparent’s house. There was always something to do and explore in the yard. There was an abundance of old toys and childhood “antiques” from my dad, aunt, and uncle’s childhood. Although I may have quarreled here and there with my sister or cousins, life was a fun adventure in the country.
To date, I gather around the same kitchen table for every major holiday with my family. I’ve been praying around that table for 43 years. My grandmother is the matriarch of our family. Granddaddy joined heaven over a decade ago. Despite the great loss of his presence, the familiarity of tradition abounds.
This is the place I understand best. Our understanding of a physical location is wrapped in psychology (human behavior). It’s almost impossible to separate the two. When I close my eyes and think about my grandparent’s home, all of my senses come to life; flooded with memories. Almost all of those memories are good. Full of laughter, amazing food, hugs, family, stories, presents, games, tears of joy, tears of grief, connection, and warm embrace. That home is love.
My Dad and I often laugh that his parents and my grandparents were not the same people. How they raised him and how they doted over their grandchildren are very different. I find the same true for my own parents in how they raised my sister and me versus our own children. As a granddaughter, my grandparent’s home is special. It was in that place that I felt as if I was the center of the universe. There was a smidgen of child-rearing with a lot of joy and love.
So much has changed and yet so much is still the same. Today I find joy, peace, and calmness in that same house. It’s comfort and rest. It’s a full belly with a little more room for dessert. It’s an “I’ll see you later” with an assurance that it will happen. All of the goodness that God intended for family and human connection meets me every time I walk in the door.
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