The House of Memories…

When I moved to a rural community with my family when I was ten years old, this house jumped out at me when we would drive through the nearby town. I loved the red front door, the diamond-shaped window, and the storybook character that seemed to flow out of its eaves and gables. When it came on the market during the first year that my ex-husband I were newlyweds and looking to buy a house, I knew it was meant to be. It was my house of dreams. It was perfect. And it was mine.

It was my home for just three years. Our two oldest sons were born while we lived here, and I had been heartbroken when we moved away. My sister and sister-in-law told me last week that it was back on the market. When my mom let me know that there was going to be an open house on Sunday, I decided to take the boys to see the house they were too young to remember.

The House of Memories

My pretty French doors – I was so happy to see them!

Facing the memories - my boys

I used this double French doorway to set up the bouncy swing that both boys enjoyed when they were babies. I spent hours watching their little Flintstone feet run, jump, and play! So many memories…

Facing the memories - boys

I stood in my old kitchen. Sure, there were a few changes. The curtains were different, the stove and refrigerator were new, and the floor had changed… but it still felt a little like coming home. There was the sink that I picked out for my first Mother’s Day to replace the mustard yellow one from when we moved in. Ah, the light above the sink that made the room glow with warmth in the early morning hours when I started my day. The cabinets where my little ones used to play. My red walls…

Facing the memories - the kitchen

My mind traveled back to standing there the day we brought Camden home from the hospital. I was exhausted, nervous, on top of the world, full of love, and unable to take my eyes off my little one – bundled up in his green receiving blanket. I swayed back and forth as I held him, introducing him to all of the rooms in his new home.

Camden and Ginger

I remembered removing the old wallpaper in the kitchen, and how I had finally found the perfect shade of red for the walls. After Aiden was born, I worked during their naps to paint the trim a shade of cream. So warm and homey, this room became one of my favorites in the whole house.

Facing the memories - little boys

Next I went to visit my bookshelves. How I loved filling this room with my collection of stories!

There used to be a small used bookstore just up the street from our house. It was run by the local Mennonite community, and the proceeds of the store went to help with their mission work around the world. I would put the boys in the stroller, and walk to the store to gaze at the beautiful antique books for sale. Sometimes I would gather up the books I was finished reading, and trade them in for credit toward purchasing some of the antiques for my very own.

Oh, how I wish that I had pictures of when my books lived on these shelves…

Facing the memories - the library

Then we went upstairs to see the room that had been Camden and Aiden’s nursery.

My oldest son’s middle name also happens to be the name of a star, and before he was born I arranged glow in the dark shapes on the sloped wall in the shape of his constellation. I painted his middle name next to the star sharing his name. It broke my heart to paint over that little labor of love when my ex decided to sell the house. I couldn’t find any trace of my constellation, but as I touched the wall, I knew it would always be there. All of the love and hope that I had poured into this house, my little house of dreams.

Facing the memories - the nursery

But sometimes hopes and dreams don’t quite turn out the way we had planned.

I was incredibly sad to leave my home eight years ago, and I had no idea where my life’s journey would take me next.

We went from this 1940s Tudor home to a 1950s Mid-Century Modern house. Two years after we moved, my trio of little men was complete when Quinn was born. He was only a few months old when my marriage fell apart.

I worked so hard to salvage our little family, even after everything…

I became a single mother, and silently wished that someday I could scrape up enough money to buy back my little Tudor house. I wanted to erase all of the painful memories in the past.

But then someone very special came into my life, and I began to dream new dreams…

As I walked one last time through the house, I was flooded by beautiful memories and sorrow. Joy and agony. The dreams I had for my little family in that little house, and having them broken forever.

Just like that constellation in the nursery, the painful moments of my past will always be there, but I am forever thankful for second chances. I am so blessed to have my Beloved in my life. And I am grateful that I can now turn the page on that chapter, and move on in my story. My counselor had once suggested revisiting places in my life that held painful memories, and allow myself to see that those experiences really are in the past, and that they no longer hold power over me. When I told my counselor this week that I had gone back to visit the house, she said that she was so proud of me – and I think that I’m actually a little proud of myself, too.

One thing I learned by walking through that red door again last week, was that even though I was glad for this look back into the past, I have so much more to look forward to in the future. I am excited to live fully and whole-heartedly in our new home, one where our entire family can chase our dreams together, but I will always treasure those tender moments with my precious little ones in that house. It is no longer my house of dreams, but it will always be my little house of memories…

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Written by ginger


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5 Comments
  • Diane L. says:

    Your story pulled at my heartstrings, as I could relate to so much of what you said about memories. Several years ago I brought my children back to the city where they were born. They were only 5 and 2 when we left, so they had few memories of this place.
    Since we lived in an apartment, and of course other people were living there now, we couldn’t go inside. But I showed them the building where we lived, the park where they played, the McDonalds down the street where we stopped for treats, and the daycare they attended.
    I told them lots of happy stories about the time we lived in this city. Yet, my thoughts silently returned to many not-so-happy memories, too.
    In the end, I found the trip to be very healing. It gave me a sense of peace to see that life had moved on, and my ex-husband was no longer there to trigger fears or to hurt me. Yes, it is a blessing to be able to salvage the good memories in one chapter of life, and then to move on to better chapters ahead.

  • Krista says:

    Oh luv, I feel so much pride in you today. XOXO I too had to go back and revisit places of my deepest pain. I was so afraid, the pain was still so fresh, but I did it and it lost its power over me. I’m SO glad you had the courage to do this and to take one step deeper in your healing. XO

  • Tammy says:

    Beautifully written post. You take your readers on your journey with you. #pullingheartstrings

  • Tammy says:

    I didn’t even read the first comment before I wrote mine. 🙂

  • Krystle says:

    Loved the post. I appreciate your transparency when talking about the pains of your past, and what emotions you’re flooded with. You wrote that post one day before my son’s 1st birthday. We all celebrated as a family unit in the house, and I think that when this place does sell, I’m sure I’ll want to come back to it.

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I’m Ginger ~
I'm a wife to my Beloved, mom of three boys, bookworm, survivor of a broken heart, and Kansas Girl. It is my desire to encourage you. No matter what storm you're going through right now, you are not alone. I promise.
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