Earlier today my siblings and I met at my parent’s house for a family meeting of sorts. For the past several months my brother has been updating the house to get it ready to sell. As we all walked through each room I was really impressed and proud of all the work he has put into it. Dad would have been so proud of him for fulfilling his dream to see the house restored to its former glory.
As we sat outside on a bench enjoying the nice warm weather, my sisters and I watched all of our kids run around the house like we used to back when we were kids. We must have run around that house at least a million times. With their backs turned to us I wondered if this is what my parents also witnessed: six kids chasing each other, running as fast as they could, laughing, and screaming as kids do.
When dad died the thought of selling the home both he and my mom raised us up in was unthinkable. My heart would feel so heavy, like a ton of bricks, when family meetings discussing the sale of the house would be up for discussion. Perhaps I was holding on to dad by insisting we not sell the house. It’s been almost 8 months since he passed away and I was unexpectedly surprised by how much peace I had this afternoon by the thought of another family living here. The reality is that dad is no longer in the house. All that is left of him is our memories of him, and I have come to terms with that.
Mom would tell us stories of how beautiful the house used to be when she and dad first bought it over 45 years ago and she would always get a little sad because they could never maintain it like the previous owners. But today I got a glimpse of what she meant by beautiful. I don’t ever recall living there while it was in such a beautiful state. I wish dad could have been there with us today to see it.
It feels rather strange to be saying goodbye to the home I grew up in (until I got married) while at the same time saying goodbye to the home my husband and I have raised three kids in over the last 11 years. I won’t lie to you, 2011 has been a tremendously difficult year for me. But, as we’re on the brink of moving into our new home with mom in a few weeks, I can’t help but feel the symbolic and congruent meaning of it all. The move feels like a new chapter for my family, which now includes mom. I am no longer going to say that mom moved in with us. Instead, with our new home, I’m just thinking of it as our new home that we’re moving into together; her new home and my new home. She won’t feel like an outsider and I won’t be always thinking about my adjustments to her moving into my world.
The past 8 months have been transitional for all of us and together we will start new. Instead of just mom having to learn how to operate a new dishwasher we both will. Together we’ll discuss what shelves the towels should be stored on and which cabinet in the kitchen will be designated for the plates and cups. Mom will get to pick which room she would like to have as her bedroom before the kids can instead of having to live in the “guest room/office” we cleared out for her when she moved in. I guess what I am trying to say is this: we’re going to be okay, and I’m feeling comfortable about what the future holds.
In the mean time, we are keeping busy here by packing boxes and sorting through things we’ve collected over the years. Cooking is down to a minimum as we’ve packed away most of my pots and pans. I made this comforting Eggplant Orzo with Hazelnuts last week as a one pot dish. I loved eating every bite of it because I felt it acknowledged the fall season which will be here sooner than later. And right now, I am ready to step into a new season of life.
- 1 cup orzo pasta
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 eggplant eggplant, cubed ¾" pieces
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- ½ cup toasted chopped hazelnuts
- ¼ cup basil, chopped
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- Prepare the orzo according to package instructions and set aside. In a medium-large pot, heat the butter and the olive oil on medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes until the onions are translucent. Add the eggplant and continue to saute for 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked orzo, vinegar, hazelnuts, basil, and parsley. Remove from heat and serve warm.