My family has lived in the same town since I was six. They’ve lived in the same house since I was 14.
I was home a couple of weeks ago for my sister’s wedding. My parents had recently decided to put our house up for sale and a few people had come to look at it but I thought it was mostly to “test the waters.”
When it was time to come back to Utah, I walked out of the house without looking back, not knowing that it would be the last time that I would walk through those doors. About two weeks later our house sold.
My mom used to dream of living in this house. She remembers seeing the people who lived there before us pulling into their driveway and thinking, “I wonder what it would feel like to be those people.”
We ended up being the people that lived in that house. We found that the house was actually nothing very special initially, just a brick home on a busy road with a driveway from heck. But over time it became something special. Over time that house became our home because it is where my family lived a life together, a beautiful life.
It is where we played countless games of basketball on the slab of concrete in the backyard. It is where we did slip and slides in the summer and went sledding down our next-door neighbor’s hill in the winter.
It is where my parents sent three kids on missions and welcomed us all home. It is the house I dreamed of coming home to during my 18 months as a missionary.
It is where our dogs, Abby and Baxter always waited for us with wagging tails. It is where we eventually had to build a ramp for Abby to get up onto the back porch when her hip wouldn’t let her climb the stairs anymore and where she is now buried in the backyard.
It is where our nights were spent playing the guitar and singing together. It is where we had family home evenings on Monday nights and where we danced in the kitchen together. It is where the kitchen often smelled of brownies.
It is where we’ve read books together on the back porch and watched a million movies. It is where we’ve had luncheons after baptisms and baby blessings. It is where we’ve come home from dances and dates. It is where we’ve gone through breakups and heartbreaks.
Tomorrow my sister Julia will leave that house and go to college. It will be one more moment that has made our house a home.
I’ve had a bit of a hard time accepting the fact that I will never go home to that house. I’ll never pull into the worst driveway of all-time and climb the stairs. I’ll never walk through the door and hear my little brother and sister come running down the stairs to see me. I’ll never get home at night and see my dad sitting on the computer just waiting to make sure I made it home. But I’ve come to the conclusion that I am just grateful.
I’m grateful for all of these moments. I’m grateful that we’ve had such a beautiful life together in a beautiful home but I also know that it is not a house that makes a home.
President Thomas S. Monson said, “A home is much more than a house built of lumber, brick, or stone. A home is made of love, sacrifice, and respect.” That is what has made me love our home, it is the people I’ve shared that home with and the experiences we’ve had together.
In my favorite movie ever, "Father of the Bride," George Banks describes his home and he says, “I love this house. I love that I taught my kids to ride their bikes in the driveway. I love that I slept with them in tents in the backyard. I love that we carved our initials in the tree out front. This house is warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and looks spectacular with Christmas lights. It’s a great house. I never want to move.”
But then he says, “But the thing I think I like best about this house are the voices I hear when I walk through the door.”
That is the thing I love most about our house: the voices I hear when I walk through the door but those voices won’t be there anymore.
I get to be with those voices forever and that means I can always come home.
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