The other night, or should I say morning, I woke up at 3:30 and could not go back to sleep. Thankfully, I rarely have trouble falling back to sleep, but this time, sleep was not going to happen.
I quietly grabbed my robe and crept out of the bedroom — trying not to wake Paul or our 10-pound Morkie, Indigo. As I made my way through the family room and into the kitchen, I smiled when I heard the familiar “creek” from the floor as I stepped on a certain spot.
We bought this house and moved in 24 years ago today. Our oldest two children were 2 and 3 years old and I was nine months pregnant with our third child. We moved in on Halloween day and that night it was 22-degrees outside. Isn’t that crazy in light of the warm weather we have had this fall?
Paul took our young children trick-or-treating, but they only went to a few homes in our neighborhood — it was just too cold outside. Luckily the children were so young, they didn’t know what “normal” trick-or-treating looked like, so they were happy with their small stash of candy.
Our basement was unfinished, and so many days the kids rode their various cars, tricycles and scooters down there, dodging the studs framing what would eventually be several rooms.
After living here about six months, Paul couldn’t take that unfinished space anymore and began the project of finishing our basement. He worked on it every night after work after the kids were in bed while I tended to our baby daughter. Oh, how exciting it was to have a finished basement with a playroom.
We had a small cement porch out back, and it wasn’t long before Paul was at work building a deck. I remember getting a new baby pool and how much use we got out of it on the deck. I also remember when we bought a swing set and playhouse combination and how excited the kids were to have that in our backyard.
Over the years there were a lot of happenings in the backyard. There were several forts built by our oldest and a few of his friends. A lot of attempted campouts happened. The kids spent hours and hours hauling out all of our camping equipment, setting up tents, inflating air mattresses and getting their overnight bedding just right. I don’t think they ever made it past midnight without running back into the house due to noises and scary things they told us were happening.
So many birthday parties happened in our backyard. There were bouncy houses, slip and slides, sprinklers, and a myriad of games played. At the back of the backyard, on the fence, are still several spray paint “graffiti” markings. At one point, Paul said he was going to try to get the paint off, but I wouldn’t let him. Too many memories of when the kids were young and mischievous.
When you have children, you get used to wear and tear on your house. Handprints on the walls are just one example of this. Last week Paul painted the stairwell going down to the basement. Both of us marveled at the now clean walls. This is the first time in 24 years there are no handprints on those particular walls. Why do children never use the handrail? It’s another mystery of childhood.
We recently had our hardwood floors refinished. Believe me when I tell you this was long overdue. Honestly, for years we didn’t see the point since we had two big dogs with nails that scratched the floors and of course, the children and their friends who seemed to scratch the floors even when they were wearing sneakers. Now we cannot believe how good the floors look and how they will likely stay that way for years.
It still shocks me when I go upstairs and see three tidy guest rooms that stay that way. Gone are the days of unmade beds, clothes strewn all over, and of course, toys as far as your eyes could see.
Lately, people keep asking me if we are going to downsize now that we are empty nesters. I am sure that day will come, but for now, we are content to stay here. So many memories are in and around this old house — I am in no hurry to leave just yet.
South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at email@example.com.