I have been more than just a house

Four brick walls, fourteen rooms, nearly seventy years,

I have seen

I have learned 

I have changed

I have been more than just a house

 

The families that have occupied me,

a number of which I have lost count, 

have been a part of my story

I am a part of theirs

 

When autumn came, 

a crisp October day, 

they arrived with a massive moving truck,

cars packed with their belongings, 

and a community of friends to help

 

They were only four then

A still young couple

with a baby on the way

and two little ones—five and three

—in their arms

 

While they stayed with me,

they became five

They grew up

They became a family

A family with challenges

A family that wasn’t perfect

But a family that truly cared

and wanted to be better

 

They made me into something new,

something better

With diligent, dedicated hands

many hours, 

and their fair share of trials and tribulations,

they created a masterpiece from what I once was

 

They painted my walls

In yellows,

and blues,

and purples,

and browns

They gave me new windows—

new eyes

They shaped and molded my skeleton

into arches and wood floors 

and windows and doorways

 

They made me better

I like to think I did the same for them

 

While they were with me,

they shared so many birthdays,

Filled with white cake and white frosting,

pies, cookies, ice cream, and strawberry shortcakes

Filled with balloons, cheap and homemade decorations, 

house-fulls of ecstatic children,

and surprise parties that never happened

 

In my arms

they experienced many cozy Christmas mornings

under their eccentric Christmas tree

with its collection of mismatched ornaments

They tore through wrapping paper

and found their hearts’ desire

They hugged and laughed,

and poured endless gratitude from their hearts

 

I stayed up worried on late nights

‘till they would finally arrive home—

tired but happy—

and sink gratefully into their respective beds

 

I watched with an admonishing disposition

as they wasted away the late hours of the night,

consumed in fictional adventures of every variety

 

I watched laughter

I watched tears

I watched surprise

and I watched anguish

I watched dreams come to fruition

and I watched as their hopes were dashed

I watched them grow and evolve and become

what they thought they couldn’t be

 

I watched them make decisions

and fix those mistakes

I watched as they welcomed friends and family

into my open arms

 

Through it all,

I held their hands

I opened my soul to them,

holding them as tight as I could

 

And I watched as they decided to leave,

knowing it was time,

but in distress nonetheless

 

When summer came, 

a warm and bittersweet June day,

they departed in a massive moving truck,

cars packed with their belongings,

and drove away to meet their community of friends

at a house that wasn’t me

 

More families will occupy me,

a number of which I will lose count.

They will be a part of my story,

and I a part of theirs

 

Four brick walls, fourteen rooms, nearly ten years

They blossomed

They flourished

They moved on

They are someone else’s now—

another house is watching them become even more

But it’s ok 

because I like to think

that to them,

I was more than just a house