We came home with almost as much as we brought up there. The trip was long, and made longer by a slower speed due to the trailer and many stops for gas. 12 plus hours almost each way! It was strange seeing my house so empty and forlorn. The warts and flaws hidden by furniture and love were exposed to the world, the gardens were in sad disrepair, and it generally looked lost and forlorn. The soul left it and it's now an empty shell, waiting for someone new to love and breathe a new spirit into it. I wandered room to room, taking mental snapshots and reviewing memories as I peered in closets and cupboards and stroked counters and window frames. A lifetime of love and memories remain in my heart and I gave thanks for the shelter and joy it provided over the 31 years my family has resided there.
Rather than crying, I gave thanks to God for the blessings he provided to us, and I prayed for the new owner that she finds the same love, security, and joy there that we shared. We went to the new home Liisa is at to get the rest of my things, then headed to Tony's for grilling and family. Not surprisingly, the spirit missing from my old house resides now in Tony and Andrea's house, as children gathered outside to play and laugh, neighbor's congregated on the curb in front to converse, and we, as a family, ate dinner at the picnic table and laughed and shared memories, and made plans for the future. I know that that spirit also resides with Liisa's house, because she too shares in it and carries it with her.
While Liisa, Eric, and I moved boxes and daybeds, Tony, Justin, and Rei worked on preparing the new sidewalk in Tony's backyard. They busted out old concrete, laid forms, and tamped down base for the new concrete to be poured next weekend. It was fun to see the boys working hard together while Andrea and Alexis did their own chores, and then we watched as the kids practiced wave boarding on Rei's rip sticks. Tony got into the act too, and we laughed at their antics. Then we grilled, visited, and had a fire in the firepit. These are the only pictures I took over the day we had to be. I played a game of magic with Justin face to face instead of over the miles, and then he and Alexis went to bed, and we said our goodbyes.
Rei was humorously panicky as we parted, and I know there was an undertone of truth to it, but watching him with his siblings reassured me he will be fine. Tony is thrilled to have him there, and Liisa is welcoming him with open arms too. Rei starts working tomorrow at the station with Rollie, learning basic automotive care, and in time he'll move on to other things. If he decides cars aren't for him, he can always go back to restaurants. Between Liisa and Neal he has options there too, and 2 years of kitchen experience from the roadhouse.
I'm tired and not necessarily looking forward to going through boxes, but Eric works this weekend, so that is my plan. Who knows what treasures were left behind in the garage rafters over the past 8 years that need finding! I have a lot of things to process in my heart after talking with my brother, but those are things for another day. I am at peace with where things are today.