Today is my Grandma’s birthday.
Well, May 2 was her birthday.
I’ve been thinking about angel food cake and Grandma cutting it, serving it to us as we gathered in her house for one of our birthdays. There are many memories of birthdays spent in that home.
I’ve been thinking about that space a lot lately – my grandparent’s home.
My grandparent’s house is next door to my parent’s. It is my second home. I have a lot of memories in that house and yard. Making leaf houses with Grandpa and root beer floats (ice cream only for me). Sitting on the porch talking and waving to her as I parked my car in her garage.
That space is such an important aspect of my childhood and adulthood.
When Grandma passed last July, it broke my heart to know I couldn’t simply walk across the yard anymore to visit her. Or to look up from mowing the lawn to see her on the porch.
One day I finally said to my parents, “Ok listen, about Grandma’s house – what are you doing with it cuz I want it.”
And so began my journey into a new space, memories and home.
The 65+ year old house needs some refurbishing. That’s what I’m calling it. It’s not a renovation. It’s a refurbishment. The house isn’t getting a complete demo like something from HGTV. My parents and I are not gutting the place because it doesn’t need it. Well, except the bathroom.
The walls have holes in them where the electricians have been updating the wiring. I’ve spent weekends with Dad scrapping off wallpaper that’s been there since the 1990s. (Love you, Grandma, but the cute bunnies have to go.) Grandma’s belongings are scattered around the house and once the plastic sheets come off, we’ll need to tackle that some more.
When I needed to make a lot of decisions about sinks, faucets and lights, I asked Grandma and Grandpa to help. I asked for their guidance, knowing full well that both walk with me in life and that they would love to see their granddaughter living in their house. I also know Grandma and Grandpa would want me to make the house my own.
The past is important and change is difficult. Sometimes one simply needs to embrace the past and move forward in creating new space for more memories.
In a few short weeks I move into my grandparent’s space, into their home. Except it’s not their home. It’s mine. With the memories of the past seeping in and around me in every room. The kitchen where I’m hoping my nieces and nephews come for root beer floats, as my siblings and I did. The basement that hosted so many family birthdays and meals will hopefully host more. The old walls with fresh coats of paint and new fans and lights.
A house with a mix of the old mid-century 1950s feel with a modern spin.
My new – old space.
Happy Birthday, Grandma. I hope to make a ton of new memories in the space you loved with the family you loved.