I had planned to do all of my "lasts." One last dinner at the restaurant, one last breakfast at the inn, one last sleep in my bed, one last fun day with my sisters, one last tea with my mom. But it all came on so fast. I was too busy to think about my lasts, to plan them. I don't remember my last breakfast or my last dinner because I didn't think it would be the last. My sisters were too busy and never home the week before. My mom was working every day while I was packing. The night before I left I was too occupied with what I may have forgotten and what I still needed to pack to appreciate my last sleep in my bed.
But did it really matter? The bed part I mean, things with my family I still ache for. But the bed I have slept in for the last six months wasn't "my" bed. It was the guest bed, in the guest room, where I had set up shop temporarily. My bed, if you can call it that since I only had it for two years before I moved out when I was 18, was now Bear's. My room was now Bear's. My room doesn't look anything like it did when I was in high school. It's a different color, rearranged just a bit differently, and covered in Bear's personality. And yet I still ache for it.
It's silly. I haven't lived in that house in five years. It was only my home for eight years, we had lived in two others (that I remember) before that. I have returned and left countless times. Yet this time, this time I have a special ache. A sad homesick - and I've only been gone a week - wishing I had made my rounds and said my proper goodbyes. Because this time, there will be no going back.
When my parents first announced they were selling the house, my sisters were distraught. I, however, felt ambivalent. They were going to move to the inn, right down the road; to the place that dominated my childhood memories. The inn is, and always will be, my real home. It was where I spent every free moment, where I made most of my closest friends, where I laughed, and grew, and loved. Where I discovered my love for horses and working with children, where I saw the praise and admiration in my father's eyes. It's where everything started.
So the fact that we were selling the house did not seem to mean much to me. Until I left. I realized, although I had only spent eight years of my life in that house, they were my most formidable years. Ten to eighteen. It was where I cried out all my adolescent tears, where I giggled over my first love, where I hid from the terrors of high school. It was the house I carved my name into; in a closet in one of my rooms, to leave my mark, so I could show it to my grandchildren as an old woman.
It's where I used to day dream I'd be proposed, out in the apple orchard just outside our front door. It's where I had always imagined my wedding reception would be, the twinkling lights and me in my white dress out on the back patio.
We had built the house to be our very own. It was designed specifically for our large family. We had the hopes and dreams that it would stay for generations. That children upon grandchildren upon great grandchildren would run through its halls, build forts in each room, and explore the large yard and woods.
Life, however, had other plans. It is sad it will no longer be our little home. But thankfully we can transfer those dreams back to the inn, where my parents began. Back to the small farmhouse they first moved into 27 years ago; with three little boys and great faith that they could survive the country. Five more children, four houses later, they are returning. Back to the simple roots of our little inn. Back to where my first memories began.
And maybe, back to where new memories and dreams will begin.