When Jake, Caleb and I embarked on our journey home to South Africa from Portland last November, it was a poignant moment. Literally, the day before the boys and I stepped aboard our first plane to return to our mission life, my parents had just taken the courageous and bold step to sign a rental agreement in a retirement community. This was a momentous deal for our entire family. Significant change was at hand. For our family, this meant that my parents’ home that John, Micah, Jake, Caleb and I had returned to on each home assignment since moving to South Africa in 2006 would soon be sold.
For the past six months, my family has been preparing my parents’ house for a proposed April 2019 sale date. My sister, my brothers, and my parents put forth a masterful, amazing, inspiring and even Herculean effort to make this important event happen. I am indebted to them all for doing the work that I could not. One of the greatest challenges I face as a missionary are the times when my extended family is involved in necessary, time-sensitive tasks that can only be done – over there. I can support. I can cheer-lead. I can listen. I can pray. But, I can’t be there. And that’s hard. I miss being available to assist them – in person.
This is another one of those weeks that I wish I was there.
My parents’ home, my family home, is ready to be sold. Even as I type these words, my heart is lurching, and my eyes are welling. The emotions are real, and they are raw. Honestly, I’m surprised how easily I choke up at the thought of our family home being sold.
It’s a good, good thing, though.
I am incredibly proud of my parents for down-sizing and moving into a place that offers positive, affirming and helpful amenities at their season of life. They are living in a brand new, beautiful home. And our family cannot wait to visit them there one day.
Recently, our family was encouraged to compose different thoughts and memories of our house. It was such a meaningful experience for us. It was a true delight to read what my parents, sister and brothers shared about their lives at 10375.
In tribute to my parents, my family, and our lives well-lived at 10375, I thought I’d share some memories:
What I most appreciate about our family home on 10375 is that my dad purposely designed and built it with his family in his heart, in his mind, and always in his sight. How would Dad know that 40 years later, this home would be the gathering place for countless birthdays, graduation parties – high school and university, engagement and birth announcements, after-wedding festivities, and other joys upon joys year upon year. Thank you, Dad.
There are way tooooooo many of these times to count, but I loved sitting in the kitchen – either around the table or near the wood stove – to listen to my parents, my siblings, our kids, our spouses, and our nieces and nephews recount their life experiences and share what they’ve been learning. So much laughter. Tears, too. Just life. So special.
I will never ever forget Dad using his executive planning skills and his purposeful mind to put six cars like intricate puzzle pieces into the four-car garage to prevent them from suffering damage from the falling ash of Mt. St. Helens in 1980. Oh. My. Word! What a feat! (Sorry no photo! 🙂 )
I loved my bedroom. Loved it! It was my place to rest, to think, to dream, to hope, and to pray. We painted the walls a soft, calming shade of green. Entering my bedroom was always a restorative experience. I loved looking out upon the back garden with its rhododendron and hydrangea bushes that literally framed my windows. I always felt like my bedroom was an extension of my mom’s beautiful garden.
One of my favorite things about my parents’ home was when they installed the large, over-sized deck. The grandchildren found it to be the perfect play place. In their younger years, they launched into big wheels and raced each other round and round and round on the deck – it was joy to behold. Later in life, Jake often perched himself tall and proud on the deck benches to enjoy his solitary me-time.
Morning hugs. So many hugs of love and appreciation as we greeted each other at the start of each day. Forty years of love at 10375!
Walking to school, walking through the neighborhood, walking to the park, walking down the hill to Safeway for doughnuts, our family enjoyed every single step! Jake, Caleb and I took morning walks nearly every day and appreciated the different treks we would make together.
Playing in the snow in the front and back yards through the years – building snowmen, throwing snow balls, and appreciating the moment with Grandpa and Nana.
For Micah, Caleb and Jake, they found 10375 to be their home away from home. We spent the bulk of our time, when on home assignment, at my parents’ house. I cannot tell you how grateful John and I are for my parents during this significant season of our lives – especially when the boys were so young. My parents were available to be with the boys, while John and I went out to meet with supporting churches, mission teams, and our mission support team. A special memory for Jake and Caleb is that they will always cherish is sitting on the couch with Nana and Grandpa and holding their hands as they all watched “America’s Funniest Videos” together on Sunday nights. They liked when everyone shrieked or grimaced when someone got ‘bopped’ on the show.
My parents built a house for our family forty years ago. But it was their encouragement, love, commitment, and dedication to our family that made 10375 a home.
I am so grateful for all of the love and all of the life we’ve shared as a family in this extraordinary place. It’s my prayer that this house becomes a special home for the next family for decades to come – just as it has been for our family.
Thank you, Mom and Dad.
Thank you so much.
I am so proud of you.
I love you – always and forever.