The Metamorphosis of A House

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I've been wanting/needing to write this story for awhile and the time didn't feel right until tonight.

It's the first time we've bought an existing home.  Our previous 2 homes were brand new when we moved in. I didn't know it wouldn't feel like home at first.  I wasn't prepared for the unsettledness.

I missed my big windows where light shone through every morning.

I missed my front porch.

I missed my gardens.

I missed the familiarity and comfort I felt in my old house.

I didn't feel like I was at home.

The call came while we were in Cleveland visiting my mother-in-law who was back in the hospital.  We were crawling into bed, the clock inching toward midnight when my phone rang.

It was hard to understand Annie's voice, "Mom, it's Zach.  He's in trouble and he needs you."

Ten minutes later, Keith and I were in the car headed for Cincinnati, a 5 hour drive at least.  We stopped half way to pick Annie up from college.

My heart raced.
My hand clung to Keith's.
I prayed.
I cried.
I prayed even harder.
I willed the car to go  faster because all I wanted to do was hold my son and see that he was ok.
I was more scared than I'd ever been as a parent.

We arrived a little after 4:30 am, inching down the dark street searching for the address.  I jumped out of the car as soon as he came out the door.  Standing on my tiptoes, I wrapped my arms around my son, letting him know that no matter what, we were going to be there for him.  We pulled into our driveway as the sun began to rise.  Both kids stumbled off to bed and I tucked them in, something I haven't done for years.  How I wished that a kiss and hug could heal the pain.

Molly, taking a redeye,  arrived from DC a few hours later.

For a week, our family stayed close.  Molly...Zach...Annie...our grownup children all together.

 The kids hung out, they teased, they laughed, they cooked, they went on a tour of bookstores and came home with books to lose themselves in.  Our house overflowed with love and gratitude for each other.

And my heart began to change.

It no longer mattered that I needed to turn on all the lamps even during the day.
I found that the patio overlooking the back yard was the perfect place for a morning cup of tea.
I saw the potential for new flower beds when I looked outside at the blank landscape.

That week, in my eyes, our house became our home.

The metamorphosis surprised me.  I knew the saying that home is where the heart is.  I had repeated it to myself over and over again, but, I didn't realize how much that was true until last month.

So, now, this new place we call home has become the space for healing and fresh starts.  I am filled with hope for new beginnings and gratitude for the things I hold most dear.  Because now I know, without a doubt, that my home is wherever I find Keith...Molly...Zach...and Annie.

They are who makes my house a home.


  1. I have learned this over the past two years, Julie. I still miss certain special things from my home of over thirty years, but it is the people that make it home. I'm sorry for that scare & hope things for Zach are better. Your family's acts for him are so loving, that everyone would drop everything for a week is a big deal. I know that it wouldn't happen everywhere. Also, on another path, you wrote this so, so beautifully. I held my breath for a long while, & then sighed at the end. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I've had time to think about this since our move 18 months ago too. My husband likes to move more than I do, but I am hopeful this is our last for a very long time. I love that your whole family came together when one of you need it most. Families really are the heart of it all.

  3. Julie, what a beautiful piece and I'm sorry some sadness was the hook that helped you find it but sometimes sadness is needed for healing, as you share. Hugs.

  4. Yes. Wherever the family is, that is home. I am thinking of you...and wishing all is on its way back to normal. my friend.

  5. I've read this three different times. I am just now able to type. I am thinking of you as well as your family. Nothing pulls a family together like an early morning phone call. A family if a family no matter what! Looking forward to our visit at NCTE.

  6. Praying for new beginnings and fresh starts as you face the future with hope and gratitude. I love that your kids went on a tour of bookstores and then came "home" to lose themselves in their books. Hoping that we can meet at NCTE, Julie.

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