two things have always been certain when i've returned to sioux center for a visit. first, that i'd be staying with mom and dad. second, that i'd go to covenant and get some sort of welcoming side comment from pastor herm.

tomorrow i leave for iowa. this trip will be different than any other. i'm helping mom and dad pack up for their move. and pastor herm won't be at the pulpit on sunday.

wow. i've said that so many times, but in the past 3 days, it's really begun to hit me. how could two foundations of my life be changing at the same time?

one realization i've come to is that i need to mourn. i've been pretending like all is fine; this is part of life; change needs to happen. but to mourn is to say that my childhood home, that my pastor, has been a significant part of my life. to mourn is to say that these are special. that they have helped shape and refine this jumbled-up mess that is me.

on this early morning in june, i'm trying to pin my thoughts down about my home.

tonight i dreamed i was saying goodbye to the house. walking from room to room, reliving memories. but the dream's edges were softened. it didn't hurt. so when i woke up, it all was really sinking in, my chest squeezed tight, the lump that's been hanging out in my throat for the last week ready to choke me.

after this week, i'll never drive south on highway 75 and turn left on 4th street. i won't go all the way down to the end and turn into the driveway we built when i was nine. i won't climb the steps and go through the back door and then the other back door (all good midwest homes need a heat-trapping back entry...) i won't walk on the beautiful hardwood floors that squeak, climb the creaking stairs, or sleep in my old yellow bedroom with the white wall-to-wall-cupboards-instead-of-a-closet that Dad built for me when i was young. and the kids that take over my room will never know the pain and torture of removing multiple layers of wallpaper. they'll never see the orange flowers that were covered up by my lavendar bows.

even though my playdays are long over, i won't go up into trav's-old-room-turned-playroom-turned-guest-room and pull out the dress up clothes and bepa's old costume jewelry. i won't tear down the spiral staircase, skipping the last few stairs and swinging between the bars to crash on the dining room floor. i won't run away from Al or Trav by taking the main staircase instead of the spiral staircase. i won't play catch with Dad in the backyard or make a fort under the old pine tree. 

i won't pull the christmas candles out of the china closet drawer or help Mom set up the nativity scene in the built-in shelf on the china closet. i won't peek out my bedroom window and see the Dordt sign or see my neighbors i know well walking down the wide streets. i won't check the orange glow of the streetlight to see for the hundredth time if it's snowing yet. i won't ever rake the leaves of the dozen or so trees our family planted in the yard over the last 26 1/2 years (i remember them being tiny--when did they get so tall?)

i won't play with the ringer on the door of the front porch or open the laundry chute that's been closed off that used to house our upstairs phone with the long, twisting cord. i won't get to see our house hit 100 years old in 2014 (at least not from the inside). i won't open the attic door with fear that a bat will come flying out. and i won't ever walk in the living room and see Dad and Mom sitting in their recliners, watching the 10:00 news.

Mom and Dad's new house will never be home to me. i can say, "home is wherever they are" (and there's truth to that, too)...but yet, it's not. i've realized in the past few years how shaping place really is. 

last night, philip and i talked about the new creation. will place matter then? or will the new creation be a wonderful combination of every place we loved here? someday, i will have a Home that is much more home than 351 4th Ave in Sioux Center. until then, i'll be missing this one.

Edit: I've now returned from Iowa, from saying goodbye to my childhood home. It was good and sad all at the same time. I'm sure it won't be real until my next visit.

Also, I noticed that I can no longer see the Dordt sign from my bedroom window. We planted pine trees 20ish years ago, and they've grown so tall as to hide the sign from view.
 My bedroom
 Living room with beautiful built-ins
 Built-in china closet
 The best pine-tree fort ever (50+ year old tree)
 Spiral staircase
 Traditional pose
Goodbye, old girl.