Later that morning, Maddie made the 8-hour drive back to Columbia, to finish her final semester at University of South Carolina. The day after she arrived home for Spring Break, we went over to the house to clean and finish clearing out straggling items. I went to check on her upstairs in her room and she ended up in my arms having a good cry. Wednesday morning was my turn.
Our plan was to sit on the back porch and watch one final sun rise, but the weather didn't cooperate and the drizzle and clouds blocked the sun. We sat together on the small couch and hugged. This time I was the one to cry as 42 years of memories passed by, so I shared some of them...
"My first summer love was here," I said.
"Who was that?" she asked.
"Oh my, between pre-teen and teen, it was probably a dozen boys!"
"All those 4th of July celebrations," she said.
"You took your first steps here. You climbed out of your crib here."
"I couldn't be stopped!" she laughed.
"You wrapped your grandmother around your finger here. It was you two against me."
"And rightfully so..." she said.
She remembered all the different configurations of the furniture and said, "Remember when the TV was here and you stood there and watched the news on 9/11?"
"Oh yes...I could not stop crying."
She mentioned the boy two doors over, "When I think about playing with Matt every day, I just think how we would be outside for hours and hours. We spent so much time just playing."
"Remember you two were allowed to freely go between the three backyards, but you weren't allowed to play out front," I reminded her.
"You were afraid someone would steal me!" she replied.
"All my friends love this house," she states. "They think it's the most adorable house."
"It's certainly small and old," I said.
"I probably studied in every corner of this house,"
I said, "I remember telling people that you were spread out all over this house and I just rented a room."
We took one last walk around. We stood at the back windows staring out of the view. The sun was back there somewhere behind the gray. We hugged.
"So, did you want to go upstairs one last time?" I asked.
"No," she said. "I think I'm ready."
She took a couple pictures of the house before we left the house that built her. I had 21 years of memories in that house before she was born, but the sweetest ones are of raising my child in a house that I loved from my own childhood. For most of those years, her bedroom upstairs was the same one I spent my summers in. I'm confident that most of our memories are happy ones. When I count my blessings, raising my girl in this house and this community are among them. Home, church, friends, family, school, and more - I can't think of many experiences we've had here that don't bring gratitude. It's been a good run.
|Happy in her Disney Princesses nightgown!|
|Cinderalla lived her for a time.|
|When she accepted Christ, photo on the back steps.|
|Where she found her passion: Sports Management|
|My Future Business Leader of America|
|My college student/Charger lover!|
|Putting herself through her first two years of college.|
|College Senior year Spring Break. Home to say goodbye to this old house.|