Over the years, I’ve come to cherish spending the Christmas season with my family. The thought of relaxing, decorating the house and laughing with the people I often go weeks without seeing is the bright light at the end of the tunnel that is exam week.
But this year, my Christmas will be a little different. The weekend following finals, I will be leaving the house I grew up in and moving to a new city.
On the surface, the reasoning is simple. My house was built in 1860 and was owned by a prominent metro Detroit family for five generations, and although it has endured more than 150 years of wear and tear, it’s finally begun to show its age. The insulation has worn thin, making it nearly impossible to keep warm in the winter. The foundation has started to buckle, and we’ve been told it eventually will collapse in on itself if nothing is done. Given that my family doesn’t have the financial means to invest thousands of dollars into the repairs, we had no choice but to sell it to someone who does.
Our new house is the next city over from where I live now, so I don’t have the new surroundings to worry as much about. I went to high school in the town, so all of my high school friends still live in the area. It also is a much better neighborhood in terms of safety, which is reassuring for both my parents and myself.
I know all of this, yet all I can muster is fear of the change. Within days, 22 years worth of memories and prized possessions will be moved into foreign territory, and all of our household habits essentially will change.
From now on, every time I come home to spend time with family and friends, I won’t have the same comforts of home.
Granted, moving might not be a big deal to some people. Most families move once or twice throughout their lives, sometimes even more. But after living there for more than 19 years, I’ve come to know and find comfort in all its little quirks – the creaking stairs to the second story, the sound of my dog’s feet pacing the linoleum of the kitchen floor, the littering of rain across the roof during a storm. The new house breeds lack of familiarity with new uniqueness to be learned.
But in attempting to come to terms with it, what I often neglect is the prospect of starting new as well. Every family has its ups and downs, and we surely had our share of both while living there. Over time, the dynamics of a family might change; but the fact is, it’s still a family.
In the end, our sudden change in location only will serve to make my family stronger, while working together to make the impossible seem possible. As sad as it is to be leaving my childhood home, the new house leaves potential for a clean slate, with new memories to be made inside its walls. As cheesy as it sounds, a family really is what makes a house into a home.