An Ode to Goodbyes, Last Times, & My Grandparents' House.
In life, it’s particularly rare to know when you’re experiencing something for the last time. I saw something on Twitter one time that said that at some point in our childhood our parents picked us up, put us down, and never picked us up again. Now that’s a depressing thought, but the principle can actually be applied to most things in life.
You usually don’t know at the time when something is happening for the final time, and sometimes even when you look back it’s hard to discern.
There’s an episode of Doctor Who called Last Christmas, where one of the characters says, “Do you know why people get together at Christmas? Because every time they do it might be the last time. Every Christmas is last Christmas.”
As for me, we always spent Christmas at my grandparents’ house.
Recently, my grandma moved out of that house that, the house she’s lived in for decades. My mom spent a majority of her life there, and it’s been a constant in mine since the day I was born. Most people in the family have called it home at some point. It’s always been something stable in my life. Until now.
And, as it typically goes, I didn’t recognize the moment that I was there for the last time. Looking back, I can’t really even remember what that instance might have been.
Beyond that, I didn’t know when I was swimming in their pool for the last time, watching a movie in the back with my cousins for the last time, or eating popcorn and drinking sweet tea for the last time. And last Christmas was last Christmas for all of us in that house.
So here is my ode to last times and goodbyes, and some of my favorite memories from the house that built me.
I remember when I was little spending the night in that house, in the green room in the back. There were books in that room, and even though I’d read most of the ones for kids a million times, I’d still read them again when I spent the night. My favorite was filled with puzzles and riddles and short stories. Before bed, when the lights were dim, my grandpa would always stop by to say goodnight and, always, tell me that I would ruin my eyes if I kept reading in the dark.
Then there’s all the times my cousins and I watched Elf in the back around Christmas time. Too many times to count, so many times we can all probably quote it from memory, but it still somehow never got old.
I remember learning to skip in the kitchen, and practicing piano in the sunroom, and learning to swim in the pool outside.
This post is dedicated to plays and haunted houses performed in the basement, smoked turkey every Thanksgiving, Marco Polo, kickball, porch swings, computer games, karaoke, my cousins, my family and, of course, my grandparents’ house.
And when your last time somewhere comes, I hope you realize it, treasure it, and keep it in your heart always. And when you move on to the next place, may it be filled with many new, beautiful memories.